Medications for Back Pain, Neck Pain & Underlying Spinal Conditions

Medications can be purchased over the counter or be prescribed by a medical professional to treat, cure, prevent or manage an array of different conditions in patients of all ages who have been diagnosed with neck pain, back pain and underlying spinal conditions. Available in a variety of forms, including capsule, liquid, injection and aerosol, medications have a wide range of applications and dosages. Some pain medication, like acetaminophen, is widely used for reducing pain and fever, whereas ibuprofen is a much more effective anti-inflammatory agent but can also lead to more side effects. Every medication or food supplement has side effects. This is why selecting the proper pain medication typically requires physician input.

Medications are recommended to alleviate a wide variety of symptoms and conditions, but the distinction between treating symptoms and treating the underlying condition is important. For example, pain medication may be prescribed to an individual experiencing back pain from a herniated disc. These painkillers can alleviate pain and provide relief, but they do not necessarily treat the damaged disc itself. Anti-inflammatory medication, on the other hand, reduces swelling, which provides the disc time to heal while the swelling is down.

Some examples of medications include:

  • Ultram – for moderate and moderately severe pain
  • Acetaminophen – for mild pain, headaches and fever
  • Ibuprofen – for arthritic pain, muscle soreness and inflammation
  • Oral steroids – for inflammation, allergic reaction and arthritic pain
  • Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) – for muscle soreness and inflammation
  • Anti-seizure medications – for managing epileptic seizures and reducing the sensitivity of nerves to stimulation
  • Antidepressants – for managing depression and relieving chronic pain by changing the perception of pain
  • Opioid analgesics – these commonly prescribed habit-forming medications alter the perception of pain

Benefits and risks of medication

With any medication, the patient needs to fully understand the benefits and potential risks of the drug as well as its proper usage. Many medications can offer significant benefits but also come with risk and the potential for abuse. Some medications may not be recommended for children or pregnant women. It is very important to always check with your physician before taking new medication – even if it is available over the counter – and to fully read the warning labels. Additionally, many medications induce side effects, such as dizziness, headache, fatigue, dry mouth, constipation, increased blood pressure and more.


Medications for neck and back conditions can offer significant benefits to patients of all ages, but they also need to be respected. For further information on medication, contact your physician or pharmacist today.