Everybody responds differently to the various medications available, both over-the-counter and prescription, to treat back and neck pain. However, the key to relief for most patients with back and neck pain is usually finding the right combination of medications and ointments to treat varying degrees of pain and discomfort.
The Spine Institute Center for Spinal Restoration offers both surgical and non-surgical back and neck treatments, and we wanted to share some of the most common medications for varying degrees of pain.
Topical ointments and creams (like Bengay) are often recommended for mild back and neck pain. These medications are rubbed directly into the spot where the pain is felt. Acetaminophen (Tylenol) and aspirin are some of the most common over-the-counter remedies back pain suffers choose for relief. Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (Advil and Aleve are the most common) are often used to relieve inflammation that may be responsible for the pain.
For mild-to-moderate back and neck pain, doctors often prescribe muscle relaxants. For pain that’s more on the moderate side, injections may be necessary. As with ointments and creams, injections for pain are administered directly into the area affected by the pain. Injections are typically used to treat recurring lower back pain.
Prescription-strength narcotic pain medications or muscle relaxants are often used for more severe back and neck pain that’s likely to go away within a relatively short period of time, such as pain caused by an injury. Antidepressants or anti-seizure medications are often prescribed to treat long-term or chronic back and neck pain.
Note: Since medications used to address more severe pain tend to be more potent, patients need to be monitored for side effects and possible signs of dependency.
When Medications Fail to Provide Relief
Most back and neck pain, especially when due to over-exertion or minor muscle strain, usually goes away when treated with various medications. If pain doesn’t respond to medications, however, it’s time for a trip to the doctor to determine if there’s an underlying medical issue that needs to be treated.
If you have severe neck or back pain that hasn’t responded to medications, reach out to the Los Angeles spine surgeons at The Spine Institute Center for Spinal Restoration and schedule an in-person consultation. Our advanced diagnostic team will be able to assess the medications that you’ve taken as well as your current condition to determine the best ways to move forward. To request more information, please call us today at (310) 828-7757 and take the first step toward a pain-free lifestyle.