Low Back Pain
Low Back Pain
Medicine can decrease
low back pain and reduce muscle spasms in some people.
But medicine alone isn't an effective treatment for low back pain. It should
be used along with other treatments, such as walking and using heat or ice.
There are several medicines your doctor may recommend,
depending on how long you have had pain, what other symptoms you have, and your
The medicines recommended most often are:
- Acetaminophen (Tylenol) and nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs like ibuprofen and naproxen. You can buy these medicines without a prescription. Some of them also come in stronger doses. For those, you'll need a prescription.
- Muscle relaxants. These medicines can help when
you get bad muscle spasms along with
low back pain. Side effects, such as drowsiness, are common.
- Opiate pain relievers. These are very strong medicines that are sometimes tried to ease sudden, severe back pain that has not been controlled by other medicines. They are usually taken for only 1 to 2 weeks.
- Antidepressants. Some of these medicines, such as amitriptyline and duloxetine, not only treat
depression but also may help with chronic pain.
Other medicines sometimes used for low back pain are:
- Anesthetic or steroid injections. These have been
prescribed for chronic low back pain, but they have not been researched enough
to know if they work well for back pain. They may give short-term relief from leg pain related to a back problem.
- Anticonvulsants. These are sometimes used to treat low back
pain, even though there isn't strong evidence that they help.
- Botox injection. This is a shot into the back
muscles. It has not been well tested for chronic low back pain.
Medicines that work for some people don't work for others.
Let your doctor know if the medicine you are taking doesn't work for you. You may be able to take another medicine for your back pain.
William H. Blahd, Jr., MD, FACEP - Emergency Medicine
Robert B. Keller, MD - Orthopedics
December 14, 2011
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