While pain medication does not actually heal a back or neck injury,
it can relieve pain and allow time for an injury to heal or for
treatments, such as physical therapy, to have a chance to work. There
are various types and categories of medication available,
depending on the severity of your symptoms, how long you’ve had them, and
where they are located.
non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAID), such as ibuprofen
(Motrin) or naproxen (Aleve), are the most common medications for people
with back or neck pain. Prescription NSAIDS are also available. Often,
for mild to moderate pain, NSAID’s are all that is needed and pain will
improve within a few weeks.
over-the-counter pain relievers or prescription NSAIDs are not
relieving your back pain, your doctor may suggest adding a muscle
relaxant. Muscle relaxants may be useful for acute injuries and to calm
In some cases, NSAIDs
and muscle relaxants do not provide adequate relief. If you have
long-lasting, chronic back pain, you may be prescribed opioid or
narcotic medications. These drugs act on pain receptors in the brain and
nerve cells to alleviate pain.
to anti-inflammatory drugs, corticosteroids can also relieve
inflammation and alleviate back pain. They can be taken either orally or
via injection into your back.
cases in which your back or neck pain is caused by nerve damage or
inflammation, your physician may prescribe an antidepressant or an
anti-seizure drug. These medications, while not originally developed for
back or neck pain, have been found to be effective in reducing pain
caused by nerve problems.