Back pain medications are used initially in the management of all low back pain. Over-the-counter medications are very safe and can be used by anyone. You do not need your doctors prescription to these medications. Most back pains can controlled with a combination of paracetamol and ibuprofen. For adults, two paracetamol tablets four times a day and 400 mgs of ibuprofen three times a day is sufficient.
What are over-the-counter medications for Back pain?
Over-the-counter medications are pills that can be purchased over-the-counter by anyone above the legal age. These medications are:
- Voltoral Gel (Ointment)
Paracetamol is the most commonly used medication for back pain in the inital stages. It is called an ‘analgesic’ and an ‘antipyretic’.
Analgesic means that paracetamol is effective in reducing pain. Antipyretic means that it reduces fever by working on the temperature settings in our brain.
Paracetamol reduces the chemicals that are released from the injury to the soft tissues causing low back pain. It blocks the pain signals from reaching the brain and therefore it is a very effective pain killer. It cannot stop the inflammation and cannot be used for arthritis.
The normal dose of paracetamol is 1 gram 4 times a day. Paracetamol can be taken along with Ibuprofen after food.
Ibuprofen is the most commonly used medication for back pain in the inital stages. It is called an ‘anti-inflammatory’ and NSAID medication.
NSAID stands for Non-steriodal anti-inflammatory drug as it is not a steroid tablet. Ibuoprofen controls the chemicals called prostaglandins that cause pain, swelling, warmth and redness called inflammation.
Ibuprofen is therefore very effective in reducing the inflammation, swelling and pain caused by the back injury and arthritis.
The normal dose of Ibuprofen is 200 mgs 3 times a day. Ibuprofen can be taken along with paracetamol after food.
What can you do if over-the-counter medications do not work for back pain?
Sometimes over-the-counter medications do not work in low back pain. You may have to go to your doctor to get stronger medications to control the pain and move around. These medications have a tendency to make you become very dependent or addicted to them. There are controlled medications that can be used only on the recommendation of your doctor.
What can your doctor recommend further for low back pain?
Naproxen is the most commonly used by doctors for back pain in the inital stages. It has a better safety profile and therefore these are preferred by doctors than Ibuprofen. It is also called an ‘anti-inflammatory’ and NSAID medication.
NSAID stands for Non-steriodal anti-inflammatory drug as it is not a steroid tablet. Naproxen controls the chemicals called prostaglandins that cause pain, swelling, warmth and redness called inflammation.
Naproxen is therefore very effective in reducing the inflammation, swelling and pain caused by the back injury and arthritis.
The normal dose of Naproxen is 500 mgs twice a day. Naproxen can be taken along with paracetamol after food.
Codiene is the used by doctors for back pain in the inital stages along with paracetamol. Our body converts codeine into morphine and this works on our nerves and brain to control the pain. Codiene blocks pain signals coming from the injured tissues of our back from reaching our brain.
Codeine carries the risk of constipation as it works on the nerves of our body and also on the tummy. Codeine has a tendency to make you become very dependent or addicted to them.
The normal dose of Codiene is 60 mgs 4 times a day. Codiene can be taken along with paracetamol after food.
What if the pain does not get better after the above medications?
There are still plenty of options available to the doctor. If your pain does not settle he does have a medication then stronger painkillers medications that work on our brain and our nerves that carry pain senastion will be needed. But the risks of pain side-effects increase with these stronger medications.
Diazepam is normally a sleeping tablet. But diazepam can be used to control the spasms caused by the back pain from injury to the tissues. This is how it gives you relief from your back pain. Diazepam acts on our brain to reduce the chemicals that cause anxiety.
In addition to reducing our anxiety, diazepam also has actions to relax the muscle spasm from the back pain and gives you a good night’s rest. Diazepam is a good sleeping tablet. By the way, diazepam also has a tendency to make you become very dependent or addicted to them.
The normal dose of Diazepam is 2 mgs once or twice a day and can be taken along with other medications after food.
Amitriptyline is a tablet normally given for depression. It can be used in backpain in controlling back pain as it works on the chemicals released in the brain. Amitriptyline also increased improves your mood. The best action of amitriptyline is that it alters the way that your brain receives the pain sensation.
As it acts on the chemicals in the brain, it can make you sleepy the next morning. If that happens you can try taking this tablet much earlier in the evening. You must consult your doctor if you have any problems with these medications.
Your doctor usually determines the best doors that you can take as this has side-effects like drowsiness.
What other medications are available long term for Chronic Back pain?
As you know when your pain is not controlled by medications that are used commonly, it would appear that you will need stronger medications that has to be prescribed by Consultants at the hospital. A Consultant spinal surgeon or a Consultant pain specialist who has extensive and specific training in handling patients with chronic low back pain prescribes these medications.
Gabapentin is a very strong medication and it is usually prescribed by consultant pain specialist working in a hospital. It appears to work by altering the electrical activity in the brain and the way of our brain accepts pain. Gabapentin also influences the chemicals in our nerves that sends pain signals to our brain.
You must consult your doctor regularly as this medication has a very powerful effect on your brain. These medications can interact with other medications that you may be taking for long term conditions.
This information provided here is only for general awareness and by no means must be taken as a prescription or advice.
Pregabalin is also a very strong medication and is usually prescribed a Consultant pain specialist who manages back pain on a long-term basis in the Pain Clinic. The mechanism of action of Pregablin is similar to that of Gabapentin.
Pregabalin is a medication used in the treatment of epilepsy. Pregabalin works by reducing the electrical activity in the brain and also the alters the way our spinal nerves handle the pain sensation before sending them to the brain.
You must consult your doctor regularly as these medications have very powerful effects on your brain. These medications can interact with other medications that you may be taking for long term conditions.
This information provided here is only for general awareness and by no means must be taken as a prescription or advice. These are very strong medications and must be taken only under the direct supervision of the pain management Consultant in the pain clinic and closely monitored by your General practitioner (GP).