Back pain is one of the most common conditions affecting 80% of the population. It is second only to headaches as the most frequently occurring painful conditions that affect a person 30 years old and above. The condition is so common, in fact, that four out of five people may or are already experiencing back pain.
But the good news is that there are several treatment options available for those suffering the rigors of back pain, including physical therapy, exercise, and of course, back pain medication.
Many back pain medications can be bought over the counter without need of prescription. These drugs are helpful in relieving pain and addressing several of the symptoms related to an episode of back pain. In addition to nonprescription drugs, back pain medications may also be procured through a doctor’s prescription.
One of the two types of over the counter back pain medication, acetaminophen is a pain reliever drug that acts by switching off the brain’s pain perception. In this regard, it is unlike any other back pain medications, which are mostly anti-inflammatory in addition to being pain killers.
The common dosage of this back pain medication may be up to 1000 mg taken every four hours, provided that no more than 4000 mg is taken within 24 hours. The fast acting pain relieving effect of this back pain medication makes this drug perhaps the single most effective drug to treat the condition and associated pain.
Additionally, this back pain medication is recommended mainly because:
- It has few side effects.
- There is no chance of addiction.
- Tolerance level of patients (when the drug loses its pain relieving effect) is slow to develop, even with extended use.
- Very few patients are allergic to it.
NSAIDs (Non Steroidal Anti Inflammatory Drugs)
Another commonly used back pain medication that is available over the counter is NSAIDs. Since inflammation is a contributing factor in many painful episodes that back pain patients encounter, back pain medication such as NSAIDs with anti inflammatory effect are especially helpful.
Working like aspirin, NSAIDs relieve pain by limiting the formation of inflammation. But what makes this back pain medication better than aspirin is that it has fewer gastrointestinal side effects.
Ibuprofen, Naproxen, and COX-2 Inhibitors are only among the few NSAID drugs used as back pain medication.
Narcotic Pain Medications
These types of back pain medications are for severe back pain, particularly those affecting the lower back. Narcotics are only available with a doctor’s prescription, for obvious reasons – they are strong and potentially addictive forms of medication.
The effect of these back pain medications is dissociative in nature, which means that they do not actually deaden the pain, but works to dissociate the patient from the painful feeling. Back pain medications under this category include codeine, propoxyphene, hydrocodone, and oxycodone.