Pain is your body’s way of telling you that something is wrong. Taking medication may ease your pain, but does not necessarily treat the underlying problem. Reducing pain can, however, also give your body time to heal. Unless you are already under a physician’s care, you should see a doctor whenever back pain fails to improve within three days.
For many back injuries and spine conditions, taking medication to help control the pain represents one element of treatment. Although medication alone may be tried first, more aggressive treatments are often needed as well. Doctors often prescribe medication in conjunction with a physical therapy regimen. The medication treats the pain, while the physical therapy focuses on strengthening muscles and increasing flexibility, both of which will help to prevent (re)injury.
Do not take any medication except under the explicit direction of any of our providers. Work with your physician so that you can both make an informed decision about what medication(s) you will be taking. Since drug interactions can be serious and potentially fatal, be sure to let your doctor know if you are taking any other medications. Ask questions! You have a right to know, for example, how long you will have to take a medication or if there are any side effects.
Over the Counter
- Medications containing Aspirin: Anacin, Aspirin, Bayer Arthritis, Bufferin, Darvon Compound, Ecotrin, Excedrin, Fiorinal, Pepto-Bismol, Percodan
- Non-Steroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drugs (NSAIDs): Ansaid, Arthorotec, Bayer, Bextra, Bufferin, Celebrex, Cataflam, Daypro, Ecotrin, Feldene, ibuprofen (Motrin, Advil, Nuprin and Excedrin), Indocin, Lodine, Mobic, naproxen, (Aleve, Naprosyn, Anaprox), Orudis, Relafen, Toradol, Vicoprofen, Vioxx, Voltaren
- Neurontin: drug for nerve pain
- Opioids: Ultram, Darvocet, Vicodin, Percocet, Oxycotin, MScotin, among others
- Tylenol and Tylenol derivatives
Important Medication Guidelines
Remember the following when taking pain medication:
- Many pain medications contain Tylenol (acetominophen). Pharmacists recommend that acetominophen intake should be limited to no more than 2,000mg (2grams) in 24 hours. Liver damage can occur when these amounts are exceeded. Tylenol may also be found in other over the counter medications such as cough and cold medications.
- Never mix any prescription medication with alcohol.
- Do not drive motorized vehicles while taking prescription medication as they may cause drowsiness.
- Pain medication can be very constipating. To avoid this, eat a well balanced diet including fresh fruits, raw vegetables and other fiber rich foods. Drink 6-8 large glasses of water per day.
- Surgical patients should refer to constipation in the post-operative instruction section.