Finding chronic back pain relief can be difficult but when rest and limited activity fail to relieve your pain you may need to start considering medications that may be helpful.
All medications can have side effects and how they will affect you will depend on your overall health and any other medical issues that you are dealing with. So you should have a discussion with your doctor before starting any new medical treatments.
Anti-inflammatory medications, like ibuprofen or naproxen, are the first line of treatment for arthritis and muscle pain.
Medications for Chronic Back Pain Relief
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These can relieve pain by reducing inflammation and swelling which is a big part of these types of pain.
People with a history of gastric ulcers or a GI bleeding should not take anti-inflammatory drugs.
Tramadol is an opioid medication that can be helpful for chronic back pain relief. It is also a serotonin and norepinephrine reuptake inhibitor (SNRI) that can help to relieve pain by increasing your levels of these neurotransmitters.
Tramadol should be avoided if you have a history of narcotic addiction.
Muscle relaxers, such as Soma or Flexeril, can be helpful for short term treatment of muscle pain. They are not recommended for chronic use over long periods of time.
The most common side effect is drowsiness so this medication should not be used when you are driving or operating heavy equipment.
Anti-seizure treatments, for example gabapentin or pregabalin, can be helpful when you have nerve pain such as sciatica or painful muscle spasms in your back.
These medications can cause fluid retention in some people. They should be used with care if you have congestive heart failure (CHF) or other weakness of the heart muscle.
Narcotic pain medications, like hydrocodone or oxycodone, can be very helpful for short term treatment. However they can be difficult to manage when you have chronic pain that is not going to go away.
With long-term treatment you may develop:
Tolerance (the medication does not work as well as it used to)
Dependence (if the medication is suddenly stopped you may have withdrawal symptoms)
Addiction (you feel that you need the medication to "feel good" and not just for pain)
Other common side effects of narcotic pain medications include constipation, and sedation or drowsiness.