Treating pain, whether acute or chronic can be a different experience for everyone. Allergies, other health issues and belief systems make dealing with pain a very individual discussion between a patient and health care professional. Consider talking to your doctor before taking any kind of over-the-counter-drug especially if you are already taking prescription medication of any kind or if you have other health issues, such as high blood pressure. If pain lasts longer than a few days and self-care is not reducing pain, seek advice from a professional. It is better to be safe than sorry.
In treating back pain, it is now a common belief that combining/alternating analgesics with NSAIDs is a very effective way to treat mild to moderate pain. Many over-the-counter options are available:
- Analgesics (Pain killers) – Analgesics, such as acetaminophen (Tylenol) or paracetamol, treat mild or moderate pain, and can also be used to reduce fever. Narcotic analgesics, such as codeine, can be used alone or in combination with other analgesics for more severe pain. Analgesics don’t always react the same in every person, so every pain medication has its advantages and risks. Acetaminophen is good for relieving pain and fever and is less irritating to the stomach than other over-the-counter pain medications. It can, however, be toxic if the recommended dose is exceeded.
- NSAIDs (Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs) – NSAIDs are anti-inflammtory in nature. They are particularly effective at relieving muscular pain associated with back pain. Many forms of acute back pain are caused by tired, overused, overstretched and torn muscles, so NSAIDs work well to help reduce inflammation and relieve pain. NSAIDs work to reduce inflammation caused by injury, arthritis, or fever. Aspirin, naproxen (Aleve), and ibuprofen (Advil) are examples of NSAIDs.
- Muscle relaxants – Muscle relaxants may be prescribed by a doctor to relieve muscle spasms caused by acute injury or chronic back pain conditions.
- Prescription medications –Prescription pain medications may be needed in addition to or instead of over-the-counter self-care. There are specific uses and risks of prescription narcotic and non-narcotic medications and often have side effects that need to be considered. Your doctor can tell you if there is a need for a prescription.
- Alternatives methods – There are alternate methods to help reduce pain that may be helpful instead of, or in addition to, pain medications. Applying heat and ice alternately to the affected area, massage, chiropractic care, and meditation or yoga.