Acetaminophen is a common type of pain reliever (analgesic) and fever reducer (antipyretic), typically suggested as a treatment for conditions causing mild to moderate discomfort. Such conditions can include neck and back pain, headaches, aching muscles, colds, sore throats and others. Available over the counter or by prescription, acetaminophen can be found in several forms, including gel caps, chewable tablets, coated caplets, liquid suspension and suppositories. You should always consult with your physician before taking this or any other drug.

Acetaminophen combinations

Acetaminophen is often chemically combined with opioids. Opioids fall under the narcotics class of drugs and include morphine, codeine, oxycodone and hydrocodone. A typical combination includes hydrocodone and acetaminophen.

Combination pain killers can be more effective in treating moderate to severe pain, but they are also considered more dangerous. Opioids bind to the brain’s opioid receptors to block pain, and the drug mimics endorphins, the body’s natural pain killer. This can elicit feelings of euphoria, and those taking the drug are at risk for developing a dependency. In addition to the risk of dependency, combination drugs may also cause constipation, drowsiness, dizziness and nausea.

other risks

As a relatively safe drug, acetaminophen is widely available as an over-the-counter pain reliever and is frequently prescribed by physicians in stronger doses. It is important to note, however, that taking more than the suggested dosage of the drug can lead to liver damage. Fatal liver failure may even occur, which can be exacerbated by drinking alcohol.

Laser Spine Institute

Acetaminophen is often used as a conservative treatment for neck or back pain. This and other non-invasive treatment options, such as physical therapy and low-impact exercise, are generally recommended before neck or back surgery is considered. When conservative treatments fail to provide relief, consider the minimally invasive procedures offered at Laser Spine Institute. We use advanced minimally invasive techniques to perform these outpatient procedures, which are a more effective alternative to open neck and back surgery. Contact Laser Spine Institute for more information.