Back Pain Medication Management in Los Angeles, CA

Back pain is one of the most commonly treated conditions by Los Angeles spine surgeons and specialists. While there are multiple approaches to treating back discomfort including surgery, medications are often prescribed before surgery is considered, and often play a large role in alleviating any experienced pain felt by patients. However, proper management of medications for back pain is not only important in order to achieving relief, but for maintaining patient safety.

Prescription and Non-Prescription Drugs

If individuals have been given prescriptions for pain medications, it is crucial that they consult with their physician before taking any over-the-counter pain relievers or anti-inflammatory drugs. Many prescribed pain pills have acetaminophen, aspirin or ibuprofen as their bases, and unknowingly taking the same drugs purchased as over-the-counter preparations can result in toxicity.

Timing with Activities

If a patient is participating in physical therapy for back pain or has other exercise planned, he or she should take pain medication about one hour before starting activity. The timing allows the individual to experience the height of pain relief when they need it the most. If a person is undergoing physical therapy, taking the pain medication is important because it allows him or her to get the most out of each session and heal faster.

Narcotic Medications, Muscle Relaxants and Safety

It is common for patients to be prescribed narcotic pain relievers and muscle relaxants for back pain. Both types of drugs can cause drowsiness and decreased motor function.  As a result, care should be taken before participating in certain activities. Driving and operating dangerous machinery should be avoided, and people should not plan any risky or unfamiliar activities until they know how they will be affected by their medications.


Steroids are a powerful tool for helping certain patients manage their back pain. Often, a physician will start a person on a five-day dose pack of oral medications before starting the individual on narcotic pain pills. The steroidal medications should be taken as prescribed and will not interfere with a person’s level of consciousness.

For more information about medications and back pain or to find out your other options for treating discomfort of the lumbar spine, reach out to The Spine Institute Center for Spinal Restoration and schedule an in-person consultation with Medical Director Dr. Hyun W. Bae. As a trusted conservative orthopedic surgeon, he will be able to help you diagnose and treat your back pain with the most appropriate means for your current symptoms. Call 310-828-7757 for more information.