Pain medication to help relieve chronic neck & back pain

Patients who experience chronic neck or back pain may find relief through conservative methods of treatment, such as pain medication. Pain medication is often used in conjunction with other therapies and can help relieve the pain of a pinched or compressed nerve in the spine. While pain medication should not be relied on solely to reduce back pain, it can be a good treatment option when other conservative treatments do not offer adequate pain relief.

If you have been diagnosed with a spine condition and you are searching for conservative methods of pain relief, consult your physician about starting a course of pain medication to help treat your symptoms. There are several types of medication available to treat neck and back pain, though narcotics are the most commonly used. You should always use this medication under the supervision of a physician to reduce the risk of improper use and addiction.

Types of narcotic pain medication

Narcotic pain medication is commonly prescribed for spine injuries and conditions that cause chronic neck or back pain. When a spine condition causes a nerve in the spinal canal to be impacted, the intense pain from the impacted nerve root is sent as a pain signal up the spinal canal and the central nervous system to pain receptors in the brain. Narcotic medications relieve pain by attaching to the pain receptors in the brain and blocking the pain signal from the central nervous system from reaching the receptor.

The most commonly used narcotic medications for neck and back pain include:

  • Codeine
  • Tylenol #3 (Tylenol plus codeine)
  • Panadol (paracetamol plus codeine)
  • Morphine (Oramorph, MS Contin, Avinza, Kadian)
  • Hydromorphone (Dilaudid, Exalgo, Palladone)
  • Hydrocodone
  • Hydrocodone with acetaminophen (Lorcet, Lortab, Norco, Vicodin)
  • Hydrocodone with ibuprofen (Vicoprofen)
  • Oxycodone (OxyContin, Roxicodone, OxyNorm, Oxy-IR)
  • Oxycodone with acetaminophen (Percocet, Tylox, Roxicet, Roxilox)
  • Oxycodone with aspirin (Percodan, Roxiprin)
  • Tramadol (Ultram)
  • Meperidine (Demerol)
  • Fentanyl (Durgesic, Fenora, Actiq)

It is important that all prescriptions and dosages of narcotic pain medication be followed diligently. The use of narcotic pain medication carries the risk of overdose and/or addiction if not used properly. Consult your physician if you suspect that your dosage of pain medication is not correct, or if you are experiencing negative side effects from the medication.

Treating chronic neck and back pain with narcotics

While narcotic pain medication can be used to alleviate the pain caused by a spine condition, it does not actually treat the spine condition itself. By taking narcotics, patients are only relieving the symptoms of a spine condition. For this reason, many physicians prescribe pain medication in conjunction with other conservative treatment therapies that target treating the spine condition itself.

The most common pairings of conservative treatment and pain medication are: physical therapy with pain medication and chiropractic care with pain medication. Often, the physical therapy and chiropractic care address the spine condition by realigning the components of the spine and strengthening the surrounding muscles. The pain medication aids this process by relieving pain while the spine condition is being healed.

Surgery as treatment for chronic neck and back pain

If you have undergone a series of conservative treatments combined with pain medication and you are still not finding lasting pain relief, we encourage you to research other treatment options. At Laser Spine Institute, we offer minimally invasive spine surgery to help treat the most common spine conditions so you can recapture your quality of life. Our minimally invasive decompression surgery and minimally invasive stabilization surgery are safer and effective alternatives to traditional open back surgery.^

If you are frustrated and exhausted from living with chronic neck or back pain, contact Laser Spine Institute to learn more about the treatment options available to you. Our team can provide you with a free MRI review* and let you know if you may be a candidate for our minimally invasive surgeries.