Sometimes, people who experience back pain can find relief by taking medicine. That said, which medicine is most effective for back pain is up for debate and can vary from person to person. When it comes to treatment for back pain, it always helps to be knowledgeable about all your options.
At The Spine Care Center in Manassas, in addition to our interventional spine procedures, we may also provide medicine options as a part of your customized treatment plan to help you control back pain and inflammation. We may try different medicines with you until we’ve discovered the right one for your pain. In today’s blog, we will discuss some of the commonly suggested types of medicines to use to treat back pain.
Acetaminophen is an over-the-counter medicine designed to fight pain. It often has few side effects, but it can hurt your liver if you take too much of it too often. You should never take more than 3000 mg of acetaminophen each day. If this amount is not working, then you will need to try other medicines. Please contact your doctor for questions about using this medicine.
Non-Steroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drugs (NSAIDs)
NSAIDs include ibuprofen (Advil® or MOTRIN®) or naproxen sodium (Aleve®). These medicines are also over-the-counter, but you can receive higher doses of NSAIDs with a prescription. NSAIDs are very important when it comes to helping control and reduce inflammation, which can be a cause of your back pain.
Some people find that NSAIDs are hard on their stomach, and they can cause ulcers. When taking these medicines, you should report any stomach pain you experience to your doctor. Your doctor may also recommend a combination of acetaminophen and NSAIDs, but you should never take the drugs as a combination without your doctor’s direction.
Muscle relaxants help treat pain by relaxing your nerves. However, they can make you drowsy, and muscle relaxants shouldn’t be used if you operate machinery or drive often. Due to possible side effects, you also should not combine muscle relaxants with alcohol and certain other medicines.
Opioids must be taken and prescribed responsibly. They can be safe to use for pain relief when they are only used for a short period of time. Generally speaking, opioids should not be used on a long-term basis, as they can be dangerously addictive. At The Spine Care Center, we typically do not prescribe opioids, but may do so on a very selective basis and only for a short period of time.
Epidural Steroid Injections
Steroid injections straight into the spine can provide significant pain relief with a lower dose of medicine. They are also one of the best ways to reduce the inflammation in your spine which may be the likely culprit of your back pain. Steroid injections may also cause fewer side effects since the medicine is delivered directly to the spine instead of being taken orally.
At The Spine Care Center, we perform epidural steroid injections in the comfort of our own office and can repeat the injections every few months, as needed, to control your pain. Don’t forget, our interventional pain doctors are also board certified in anesthesia, so if an injection in your spine sounds daunting, we make it a much more comfortable experience for you!
Intrathecal Pain Pump
The Spine Care Center is one of the only practices around Manassas that provides these pain pumps. Intrathecal pain pumps are devices implanted into your body. They deliver pain medicine directly into the spine automatically to keep your pain away. They allow you to use strong medicines, including opioids, to control pain without side effects and in very small doses.
Intrathecal pain pumps can allow you to use only 1/300th of the dose that you would take by mouth. When a patient chooses to use a pump to help them treat back pain, they will need to visit the office every couple of months to refill the medicine in the pain pump. If you’ve been successfully maintained on oral narcotics for a long period of time, then an intrathecal pain pump might be the right treatment for you!
Our spine care experts will work with you to determine which, if any, medicines are right for your back treatment. We will tailor a plan specifically for your condition! We are here to help you achieve a high quality of life so you can participate in the activities you love.
Take the first step towards ending your back or neck pain! Call The Spine Care Center in Manassas today at (703) 257-2266 or request an appointment online.
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