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Pain Medications for Neck and Back Pain

Has your doctor recommended pain medications for your neck or back pain?  What are pain killers? How do these medications work? And what are the risks associated with them?

pain medications for back pain

Pain Medications for Spine Problems

When treating spine conditions, doctors may use pain killers to help with the pain. But what exactly are pain killers? There are various types of medications that are used to treat spine pain such as anti-inflammatories, narcotics, and muscle relaxers.

In this article we’ll take a closer look at the class of drugs called narcotics, or opioids. Oxycodone, codeine, fentanyl, hydrocodone, and morphine all fall within the class of drugs known as narcotics (or opioids).

How Do Pain Meds Work?

Pain killers, specifically narcotics, work by blocking the pain receptors in the brain. By blocking these receptors they reduce the individual’s ability to feel pain.

Muscle relaxers and anti-inflammatories work differently than narcotics. To learn more, read our in depth article on anti-inflammatories.

What are the Risks of Taking Pain Killers?

Potential side effects of narcotic pain meds include drowsiness, impaired judgement, and gastrointestinal issues. However, the risks involved with pain killers that go beyond the possible side effects.

Narcotics can be highly addictive. So, when taking them for pain there is a risk of opioid dependence.

When you stop using these pain killers there is also a risk that you’ll experience withdrawal symptoms. Withdrawal symptoms may include cravings, insomnia, mood swings, and gastrointestinal issues.

Individuals taking opioid pain meds for a long period of time are also at risk for overdose.

Should You Take Pain Killers for Your Back Pain?

With serious risks associated with narcotic pain meds some may wonder whether they should take these pain killers for their back pain?

If taken appropriately, pain meds can be very effective in helping you deal with your back pain. If your doctor prescribes these medications and you’re nervous about them, be sure to talk to your doctor about your concerns. For short periods of time, pain killers can be extremely helpful in allowing you to manage your pain while your body heals.

If you’ve been taking them for a long period of time, or feel like you may have become addicted to them, talk to your doctor as soon as possible.


*Please Note: Information on this site or any recommended sites should not be used as a diagnosis or a substitute for talking with your doctor. Always talk with your doctor about diagnosis and treatment information.
Blue Distinction Center for Spine Surgery