Common Medications for Pain
Many kinds of medications can be used to reduce spine and orthopedic pain, from over-the-counter drugs to powerful opioids. Some common types of pain medications include:
For severe acute or post-operative pain, opioid analgesics (also known as narcotics) may be necessary. They include codeine (Tylenol #3), hydrocodone (Vicodin) and oxycodone (Percocet, Oxycontin). These drugs can be very effective, but they also have risks and side effects. The body may build a tolerance to them quickly; therefore, they are generally only prescribed for short periods of time (usually less than two weeks).
Ultram (tramadol) is a pain reliever used for moderate to severe low back pain, whether it is acute, chronic, post-operative or intermittent. Its strength lies between acetaminophen and opioid analgesics. It is a non-opioid, non habit-forming medication and the body does not build up a tolerance to it.
Muscle relaxants can help relieve low back pain associated with muscle spasms. Common muscle relaxants include metaxalone (Skelaxin) and cyclodenzaprine (Flexeril).
Anti-inflammatory medications (NSAIDs or oral steroids) may be given for a short time to relieve low back pain. These medications work by reducing inflammation (swelling) and pain. Common anti-inflammatory medications include diclofenac (Voltaren), naproxen sodium (Naprosyn) and meloxicam (Mobic).
The medication(s) that your doctor recommends, will depend on several factors including; the intensity and cause of your pain, your response to other treatments, and other health conditions that you may have.