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Role of Medications in Back Pain

Medications play an effective role in the treatment of back or neck pain. Your doctor may prescribe several medications to help reduce pain and associated symptoms that are caused by unhealthy spinal conditions or deformities.

When treating chronic lower back pain, your doctor will prescribe a medication regimen taking into consideration your precise needs after analyzing the severity, period of pain and your medical history. The main aim of prescribing medications is to reduce the pain, increase your comfort level, and reduce the danger of misuse or abuse of the medications.

Over-the-counter Pain Relievers

Over-the-counter pain relievers are medications available without a doctor's prescription. They include acetaminophen, non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) and topical pain relievers.

Analgesic and NSAIDs help to reduce fever and alleviate pain caused by general muscle aches and stiffness. Moreover, NSAIDs can also reduce inflammation. NSAIDs help relieve pain by reducing the level of prostaglandins (hormone-like substances) that cause pain.

Topical pain relievers include creams, lotions, and sprays that are applied to the skin of painful muscles or joints. 

Opioid Pain Medications

Opioids are typically prescribed for chronic non-malignant pain, including low back pain for high levels of comfort while not developing toxicity to the body or having any indication of psychological dependence or addiction. Opioid therapy should be considered as the last treatment option in cases of unrelieved pain despite alternative medications (such as the use of non-opioid drugs). You will be informed regarding the side effects of opioids and suggested to follow-up with your doctor regularly. Monthly appointments should be scheduled to assess the dose of the drug until you experience partial or complete relief from pain.

Because of possible toxicity to the body, physical, psychological dependence or addiction, and the loss of efficacy due to developmental tolerance, opioid medical care or narcotic administration are widely rejected in the treatment of chronic back pain.


Corticosteroids are used to reduce swelling caused due to inflammation. When used to control pain, corticosteroids can be prescribed in the form of pills or injections. 

Muscle relaxers

Muscle relaxers are drugs that are commonly used to treat acute muscle problems. Sometimes, they can help treat painful muscle spasms. These medications help in reducing muscle tone and tension in skeletal muscles. Some muscle relaxers have a direct effect on the skeletal muscle fibers, while others work at the level of the spinal cord.

Nathan Walters, MDDouble Board Certified & fellowship-trained
pain management specialist
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    Dallas, TX 75231

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