According to studies, back pain is one of the leading causes of missed work. Most adults have experienced a bout with back or neck pain in their life. For some, pain persists for weeks or months. Naturally, the primary thought process that occurs when we encounter pain is to eliminate it or, at least, lessen it. How do we typically do that? With medication. Many people struggling with pain may initially use an over-the-counter medication to reduce inflammation or lessen the discomfort and other symptoms that diminish quality of life. In some cases, a doctor will prescribe specific medication to alleviate muscle tension and improve overall comfort. The use of medication is not without benefit. However, there are some pros and cons that patients need to know.
Medication can offer benefits such as:
- Improved comfort. One of the reasons why medication is appealing is because it works and it works relatively quickly.
- Ease of use. It’s much more convenient to take a pill than to drive to a medical office for injections or physical therapy.
- Improved mobility. When medication is effective at reducing pain and loosening tense muscles, the body moves more easily and comfortably. This can be immensely helpful in supporting additional treatments such as physical therapy.
Risks that coincide with medicating back pain include:
- Masking the problem. Medication is only one approach to managing or treating back pain. When used as the sole form of treatment, medication may do nothing more than mask the underlying problem.
- Dosing concerns. When medication is taken regularly to reduce pain, the body gets accustomed to its effects. Over time, a person tends to need higher doses of the medication to get the same results they were getting with lower dosing. This can lead to;
- Dependency issues. Medications prescribed for back pain carry the risk of dependency due to the chemical interaction within the brain. Care must be taken to avoid becoming addicted to prescription pain medication.
Getting Help for Back Pain
There are several ways to treat back pain. Medication is only one prong in a multidimensional treatment plan. To gain the best understanding of what may be causing your pain, consult with an experienced neurosurgeon. Dr. Lipani is a spinal specialist who prioritizes a conservative approach to back pain. For more information, contact our Somerset, Princeton, or Morristown office.