Using acetaminophen to relieve your neck and back pain

Acetaminophen is the most common form of over-the-counter pain medication currently available and it is most commonly associated with the brand name Tylenol. This type of pain medicine is usually used to relieve mild to moderate pain, muscle aches and headaches by altering the way the body senses pain. Acetaminophen may be used to reduce fever by interfering with the mechanism the body uses to produce elevated temperature. Acetaminophen is also an active ingredient in many cold and flu medications. Acetaminophen comes in a variety of medications. The amount of acetaminophen contained in each product should be totaled. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) maximum recommended dose for a healthy adult who weighs 150 pounds is 4,000 milligrams per 24-hour period for the average adult. Exceeding this dose may be extremely dangerous.

Unlike many prescription pain medications, acetaminophen usually does not carry many side effects and is not habit-forming. However, acetaminophen may interact with other medications and increase or decrease their effectiveness and side effects. Acetaminophen is metabolized by the liver, which means that it should not be taken with excessive alcohol or drugs that change the action of the liver enzymes. Additionally, large doses of acetaminophen can disrupt liver function and even cause severe liver damage and death. If you are experiencing mild neck and back pain, the following information can be helpful in locating an effective pain reliever.

Safe consumption

When the recommended dose is followed, acetaminophen is considered safe. Taking too much of the drug can result in more toxin build-up than the body can handle, so only stick to the amount that you need and is recommended by your doctor. While the exact working mechanism of acetaminophen is not fully understood, the drug has been approved by the FDA since 1951.

Acetaminophen is available in:

  • Tablets
  • Gel tabs or liquid suspension
  • Capsules
  • Coated caplets
  • Rapid-release
  • Suppository
  • Intravenous form

Further treatment

Acetaminophen can be helpful in relieving minor neck and back pain, including symptoms related to spine conditions like a herniated disc or arthritis. The drug has proven effective against pain caused by muscle or joint problems. However, keep in mind that the drug will not improve inflammation.

If you are dealing with neck or back pain related to a spine condition and you and your physician decide that acetaminophen combined with other conservative treatments is no longer an effective pain reliever, spine surgery may become an option. As you explore your options, contact Laser Spine Institute to learn about the benefits of minimally invasive spine surgery.

Our team can help you receive a no-cost MRI review* to determine if you are a potential candidate for one of our procedures. We have helped more than 75,000 patients find relief from chronic neck and back pain since 2005.