Category: Spine Pain | Author: Stefano Sinicropi | Date: October 3, 2017
Spine pain management is complicated, and oftentimes it requires a multi-faceted approach to best treat the problem. Oftentimes pain medications are part of the solution, and while they certainly shouldn’t be your only treatment method, they can help push you to a higher level of comfort when used in conjunction with other therapy techniques. However, if you’re not careful, pain medications can lead to bigger problems than the original spine condition. So today, we’re going to focus on how to best use pain medications for your spine pain.
Over-The-Counter Medication Management
Over-the-counter pain medications are common if you’re dealing with minor to mild spinal discomfort, like what you might be experiencing if you’re recovering from a pulled muscle or back spasms. There are two main types of OTC medications that provide relief in different ways:
- NSAIDs – Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs work to reduce pain by decreasing inflammation, which is a common contributor to mild spine pain.
- Acetaminophen – Drugs like Tylenol whose active ingredient is Acetaminophen work to decrease pain by inhibiting the brain from feeling the minor pain.
These types of medications are unlikely to lead to problems if you follow the instructions on the label, but you should always talk to your doctor about your medications, especially if you are recovering after an operation. You also should never mix medications or take them with alcohol, as this can cause internal organ issues.
Prescription Medications and Spine Pain
Some over-the-counter medications come in prescription strength, or your doctor may prescribe you a different type of painkiller altogether. Some of the more common prescription pain medications for back pain include:
- COX-2 Inhibitors – This is a type of prescription strength NSAID that works to limit inflammation in the spine. It can be more effective at reducing pain from inflammation, and it is less likely to damage the stomach lining, but there may be an increased risk of cardiovascular events, so don’t be surprised if your doctor takes a close look at your medical history before moving forward with a COX-2 inhibitor like Celebrex.
- Muscle Relaxers – As the name implies, muscle relaxers help to prevent spine pain by sedating some muscle groups that are causing pain. This type of medication is more common for individuals who are plagued by spine pain caused by muscle spasms or strains.
- Narcotics – Narcotic medications are typically reserved for individuals who are suffering from severe back pain. Narcotics are strong pain relievers that can be addictive if taken irresponsibly, so they should be strictly monitored by the physician and the patient.
- Antidepressants – Certain antidepressants aren’t just taken for depression, they can actually help with specific types of back pain, especially if anxiety or sleep problems are worsening the condition. Patients should be in sound mental health before being administered antidepressant-type medication for spine pain.
At the end of the day, no matter which type of medication you end up getting to help with your spine pain, you should always consult with your doctor about how to best manage them. Also, be sure to voice any concerns you might have. If you believe you’re relying too heavily on painkillers, or you notice that your prescriptions are going missing, alert your doctor right away to get ahead of the abuse. If you want to talk to a doctor about your medication options for your back pain, reach out to Dr. Sinicropi’s office today.