The way pain is felt in everyone is very different, which
is why people do not respond in the same way to the same medication.
Pain is a symptom not a diagnosis; it is there to tell you
that something is wrong. Before any medication is given or
taken the right diagnosis must be made to make sure the most
suitable medication is used.
For those suffering from back
pain the most common types of medication which are available
to them are Topical Preparations, Non-Steroidal Anti-Inflammatory
Drugs, Acetaminophen, Muscle Relaxants and Narcotics. They
all have their own qualities and target pain differently.
It is recommended that you avoid alcohol when taking any medications
Topical treatments are used
on the skin and usually come in the form of a cream or a spray.
They are useful because they cause fewer side-effects than
medication taken orally.
The creams or sprays are applied
to the area of pain and they work by motivating the nerve
endings into altered sensations which reduces soreness and
You must be careful if you
have broken skin, rashes, asthma or if you are taking other
medications as the same ingredient may be in both, which can
lead to an accidental overdose.
These types of drugs are
available without prescription; they are effective when used
for lower back pain and muscular strains/sprains. The drugs
work by interfering with the chemicals which is accountable
for causing inflammation and swelling. They are reasonably
priced to purchase and typical types of NSAIDs include Aspirin,
Ibuprofen and Diclofenac.
Always use NSAIDs as directed
and never exceed the dose stated. Caution should be taken
with those who have asthma, if there are any concerns, always
seek advice from the pharmacist on-duty or ring NHS Direct
on 0845 4647.
This drug is one of the most
frequently used drugs that there is as it has the smallest
number of side-effects. The good thing about this drug is
that there is no possibility of getting addicted to it. It
also doesn’t meddle with the gastro-intestinal tract
and the rate for having an allergic reaction is very low.
Paracetamol works by changing the pain receptors in the person’s
brain, in doing so it alters pain sensitivity and its sensation.
It is quite inexpensive to purchase and effective in treating
both mild and extreme pain.
If paracetamol is being taken
for pain then you should always read the ingredients of other
medicines being used as paracetamol is found in numerous non-prescription
drugs. Liver damage can occur from an over-dose of paracetamol
so those who suffer with liver impairment should be careful.
Muscle relaxants work by re-straining
the pain responses in the nervous system and lessening the
muscle tone. They work well in the treatment of muscle spasms
and movement can get better. Muscle relaxants work well when
used together with an anti-inflammatory drug.
There are side-effects in
using muscle relaxants such as nausea and drowsiness so you
should take care when driving or operating machinery. For
pain relief the most common type of muscle relaxant which
is used is benzodiazepine. It is better to take it at night
as it can be drowsy so it can be used to help you sleep peacefully.
There are two groups of narcotics,
opioids and opiates. Opiates are derived from plant sources,
generally the poppy and opioids are a chemical that is found
in humans or a very close synthetic imitation. You can only
get narcotics by prescription only.
They are most successful in
treating acute pain, post-operative pain and sometimes in
the case of chronic pain but using narcotics over a long period
of time for chronic pain can result in tolerance or dependence
in which case the dosage taken must allow for this in case
it happens. Narcotics are usually prescribed alongside a NSAID
and they work by attaching to receptors in the brain, spinal
cord and gastro-intestinal tract. They meddle with the transmission
of pain messages which changes the feeling of pain.
When narcotics are prescribed
for chronic back pain and long term use is expected, then
different routes of administration can be obtainable. You
should talk to your GP or Specialist Pain Team at your nearest
There are numerous side-effects
of narcotics which include drowsiness, nausea, vomiting and
constipation. A more serious side-effect is respiratory depression;
if this occurs, seek medical advice immediately.
Used for Treating Back Pain
There are a variety of substitute
medications used in treating back pain such as anti-depressants,
anti-seizure drugs and natural remedies. These are discussed
in more detail in other sections.
All medications call for the
user to implement care at all times when handling the drugs.
Always take the medication as directed and if you are uncertain
or feel your combination is not ideal then discuss it with
your doctor. Sometimes a mixture of drug groups is needed
to achieve a suitable level of pain relief for the sufferer.