If you have experienced lumbar pain at least once, then you have also wondered whether if you run to the pharmacy and buy “something for the lower back”, the pain will stop.
The truth is that you will not find the magic pill that will make your back pain go away. To make it go away, you will first have to find out what is causing it. To do that, you will need to visit a specialist to perform tests to determine whether your pain is simply from exertion or uncomfortable posture or you suffer from diseases such as disc herniation, sciatica, lumbago, and stenosis.
The use of drugs to relieve pain in the lumbar region should be approached very carefully and only after consultation with a specialist.
Types of drugs used to relieve or treat low back pain
Back pain medications can be divided into analgesics, nonsteroidal and steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, and muscle relaxants. They can be taken orally, transdermally, topically, or intramuscularly.
Analgesics (or Painkillers)
Painkillers are drugs whose main role is to eliminate or reduce the sensation of pain. This type of medication is used to relieve and reduce back pain, but cannot cure the inflammation that caused it. Paracetamol is among the most popular painkillers.
Paracetamol is available in tablet form without a prescription. It is used to relieve fever and painful conditions such as headaches, back pain, pain during the menstrual cycle, etc. Paracetamol has analgesic but not anti-inflammatory effects.
Anti-inflammatory (non-steroidal and steroidal)
Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs are drugs that eliminate inflammation and back pain that occurs in connection with inflammation. They are usually available without a prescription, but there are some that can only be purchased with a prescription from a doctor. The latter are more effective, but have many side effects on the digestive system, kidneys, and circulatory system, which can significantly negatively affect your health if used for too long or in high doses.
Among the most popular anti-inflammatory drugs that can be purchased without a prescription are: Ibuprofen, Indomethacin, Betadione, Ketoprofen, Diclofenac (better known as Voltaren), Nimesulide (Aulin), Aspirin, and Flurbiprofen (available under the brand name Transact).
Ibuprofen is a non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug, analgesic, and antipyretic. It is available as tablets, soft capsules, transdermal patches, or as an ointment / gel and has analgesic and anti-inflammatory effects.
Ketoprofen is an analgesic and anti-inflammatory drug that is available in the form of granules, as a transdermal patch, and in the form of a concentrated gel up to 5%, which we know as Fastum gel.
Diclofenac is one of the most widely used drugs for discopathy or back pain, better known as Voltaren is available in the form of tablets, patches, or in its most popular form as an ointment.
Nimesulide (Aulin) is a painkiller available in the form of tablets or granular powders. It can be bought without a prescription, but be very careful with long-term use, as according to recent studies, long-term use of Aulin can cause liver problems.
Aspirin (acetylsalicylic acid) is available in tablet or granular suspension. Prolonged use is not recommended as it can cause stomach and intestinal problems.
Ketorolac is an excellent anti-inflammatory agent for the back, especially effective in injuries and during rehabilitation or after spine surgery. The drug has many side effects and contraindications, so it can only be purchased with a prescription.
Corticosteroids are so-called drugs that are developed on the principles of cortisone. They reduce both the pain of discopathy and inflammation, but have many contraindications such as increased appetite, weakened immune system, hair issues, and others. Corticosteroids medications are prescribed by a doctor.
This type of medicine reduces muscle contractions, thus reducing back pain. If the cause of the back pain is a strong muscle spasm, especially if the discomfort is caused by some trauma, then muscle relaxants can be helpful. The effect of these painkillers comes when the muscles relax and, accordingly, unpleasant sensations disappear. Unfortunately, these drugs also have side effects.
Muscle painkillers have a powerful analgesic effect in combination with non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs. Muscle relaxants need to be chosen carefully because excessive use can reduce the effectiveness of muscle fibers, which instead of relieving, can exacerbate discopathy or back pain.
If the drug is chosen correctly, muscle painkillers have a beneficial effect on the whole body – the pain decreases, mobility returns, and the patient’s emotional state improves.
The most popular drugs among muscle relaxants are: Muscoril, which can be administered orally as tablets or in the form of injectable ampoules; Baclofen – improves general condition and reduces pain, Tizanidine – has an analgesic effect; There is also Clonazepam and others.
Do medications help with back pain?
As mentioned, there is no magic pill to relieve back pain right away. Medicines can only be helpful if a correct diagnosis is made.
Just for example: if the pain is on a neurological or other basis, then anti-inflammatory drugs and muscle relaxants will have no effect. However, if the pain is caused by discopathy or another similar disease, then these drugs will have an effect, especially, if combined with other forms of treatment.
What do experts recommend for relieving back pain?
Modern medical therapy, which is recommended by neurologists, has several main goals: pain relief, preparation of a treatment program, preventive measures to treat the underlying disease that causes pain, and the early return of the patient to normal life.
Depending on the cause of the lumbar pain, the doctor may prescribe painkillers – in the form of tablets or ointments, and in case of severe pain – as injections.
In addition to medication, therapeutic massage and manual therapy are recommended. In recent years, patients who have back pain are often advised to undergo a course of acupuncture. This method is very effective in relieving pain and relieving muscle tension. In many diseases of the spine, such as discopathy, physiotherapy and yoga produce desirable effects.
According to orthopedists and physiotherapists, drug therapy is somewhat effective, but not sufficient. Therefore, it is recommended to combine medication with other treatments such as physical therapy, massage, acupuncture, kinesitherapy, aqua therapy, wearing a medical corset, and similar therapies.
Individual physiotherapy exercises are able to help accelerate the process of tissue regeneration, as well as help restore motor function of the spine. Therapeutic massage and myostimulation with the aid of the latest equipment, help to solve most of the problems related to back pain.
In general, the recommendations of specialists overlap both in terms of treatment methods and preventive measures to be taken.
And the preventive measures are…
* Do not overload the back. If you have low back pain, you should not lift heavy objects or make sudden movements;
* Walk more often;
* While at work, get up from your chair every half hour. Take a walk around the office, and if you have the opportunity, do short exercises to move and warm up;
* Change your mattress;
* Do not work out in the gym.
Remember that lumbar pain is a sign your body is giving you that you have a problem. Pain is just a symptom, and you need to find the cause of this discomfort.
Seek a specialist, do your research and follow their prescriptions to deal with discopathy and back pain.
The content of this article material is for informational purposes only. In case of back or lower back problems, be sure to consult a specialist before starting treatment.