For many patients with back and neck pain not responding to over the counter (OTC) pain relievers or a little rest and relaxation, prescription medications can provide welcome relief. However, certain types of prescription medications for back and neck discomfort are meant to be taken on a short-term basis to prevent patient addiction, while others require regular monitoring through blood tests.
At The Spine Institute Center for Spinal Restoration, Dr. Bae is a conservative spine surgeon in Los Angeles who always evaluates all of a patient’s options for back and neck pain treatment. While surgery is a viable option in some cases, there are prescription medications that can help with pain relief. Here are some of the most common:
Contrary to the name, muscle relaxants actually address neck and back discomfort by affecting parts of the brain associated with pain. Common muscle relaxations prescribed for this purpose include:
- Carisoprodol (Soma)
- Cyclobenzaprine (Flexeril)
- Diazepam (Valium)*
*Valium is also a depressant and may worsen depression associated with chronic pain.
Narcotic Pain Relievers
Narcotic pain relievers back and neck pain won’t completely eliminate pain. However, such drugs can help patients manage their pain. Common narcotic pain relievers include:
- Hydrocodone (Vicodin)
- Oxycodone (Percocet, Oxycontin)
Note: Narcotic pain relievers are meant for short-term pain relief since the body can build up a tolerance over time.
Corticosteroid injections work by reducing inflammation around a joint, nerve or other structure in the neck or back that’s causing pain. Injections are often mixed with a local anesthetic to provide immediate relief at the injection site.
Opiate Pain Relievers
Opiate pain relievers are meant to be used to address short-term, acute back and neck pain due to the potential for developing an addiction to such medications with long-term use. Opiates are often combined with other medications. For instance, oxycodone is typically combined with acetaminophen.
The most common non-prescription medications for back and neck pain include ointment and creams like Bengay, Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs such as Advil and Aleve and acetaminophen. Patients already taking medications for other conditions need to be especially careful to avoid drug interactions.
Get Help Today
If you are living with back or neck pain that is unresponsive to conservative treatment methods, including OTC medications, it may be time to schedule an appointment with Doctor Hyun Bae. He can evaluate your current pain levels and abilities and determine the best course of action. Call us today at 310-828-7757 and schedule an in-person consultation.