Medications for Low Back Pain

Anti Inflammatory Drugs:

Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) pharmaceuticals that relieve pain and inflammation. All of the over-the-counter medications can cause digestive system issues (by eroding the lining of the stomach)causing  ulcers, heartburn, diarrhea, and fluid retention. Some people o respond better to one NSAID than another. Talk to your doctor and experiment to find the most effective choice.

The four main NSAIDs are Aspirin, ibuprofen, naproxen and COX-2 inhibitors.

Aspirin – This medicine actually dates back to Hippocrates (in 400BC), who had left notes describing the pain relieving effects of willow tree powder. However it wasn’t until 1829 that the compounds in willow tree were isolated and extracted for use. Aspirin is generally considered to be the best pain relief drug for people who need to reduce their fever and get rid of aches and pains in the body particularly those that are due to inflammation. Aspirin is known for its positive blood-thinning effects (in low doses) and is used to prevent blood clots that can cause heart attack or stroke.

Ibuprofen (Advil or Motrin) is a generic drug said to be slightly more effective (than aspirin) for the treatment of pain from soft tissue injuries while being slightly less irritating on the stomach and not as much blood thinning effect.

Naproxen, Naproxen Sodium (aka Naprosyn) and nonprescription (Aleve) It commonly given in higher doses that ibuprofen, and is typically preferred by patients with chronic joint pain as it last longer.

DiclofenacA prescription NSAID used more to treat pain but also helps with inflammation. This drug is typically prescribed to treat arthritis and ankylosing spondylitis.

COX-2 inhibitors (aka Celebrex) are prescription-only NSAIDs that have fewer digestive complications than ibuprofen and naproxen. COX-2 inhibitors are also safer for patients who also use blood thinners.

Indocin/Indomethacin – A prescription only Cox 1 & 2 inhibitor. Heavy strength NSAID said to have stronger effects but also greater damage to the digestive system.


Other Pain Medications:


Many people think that Tylenol/acetaminophen is anti-inflammatory (BUT ITS NOT)!  Tylenol helps stop pain by inhibiting our neurotransmitters. So it reduces the feeling of pain but not the cause of pain itself. Please don't get confused.

Muscle relaxers: helpful with pain and muscle spasms

Nerve stabilizing/ Anti depressant


Hydrocodone, Codeine, Percocet, Oxycodone, etc.