There can be a pretty substantial difference in your comfort level between dueling out an injury with the right medication or letting time take its course and thereby allowing your injury to heal. In severe pain situations, medication may be one of the only ways that will help to keep you pain free, even if it is only for a few hours. With spine and orthopaedic injuries, medications are beneficial in relieving aches for both acute and chronic pains. Below is a list of commonly used types of medications that I recommend for spinal pain and orthopaedic injuries:
Anti-Inflammatory Drugs (NSAIDs): NSAIDs are types of drugs most commonly used for decreasing inflammation, swelling, stiffness, and joint pain. Anti-Inflammatory medications reduce the production of inflammatory elements right at the source of the injury. Examples of NSAIDs include aspirin, ibuprofen and naproxen. All of these medications should be taken as directed on a consistent basis to allow the anti-inflammation to decrease.
Muscle Relaxants: Muscle relaxants are effective in treating moderate to severe muscle spasms from acute musculoskeletal injuries. These medications are not anti-inflammatory agents, but instead act on the muscles to reduce muscle spasms. Please note muscle relaxants may cause significant drowsiness or dizziness, so driving or operating heavy machinery should be avoided when talking these types of medications. Common brand names of muscle relaxants are Valium, Robaxin, and Skelaxin.
Narcotic Pain Relievers: Narcotics are controlled substances that work in your brain to conceal the experience of pain. Although pain may be coming from the injury areas in or around your spine, you don’t actually feel the pain until the pain signals reach your brain and are processed. Instead of working at the source of pain like anti-inflammatory drugs do, narcotic pain medications allow for the brain to control the pain-processing ability of your body so that you perceive less pain. Narcotic medications should not be taken for minor pains. These pain relievers should be used for severe pains and only for limited periods of time. Taking narcotic pain relievers may lead towards addiction and dependency if used incorrectly, therefore use in moderation. Side effects may include drowsiness, nausea, and constipation. Several of the common narcotic pain medications are Lortab and Vicodin, Percocet, and Tylenol #3.
Non-Narcotic Pain Relievers: Non-narcotic painkillers may be used to dismiss moderate to severe aches and pains. These drugs manage pain without the use of opioids, like the narcotic pain relievers. Sometimes non-narcotic pain relievers have other primary indications and hence leave pain relief as a secondary benefit. A couple of the widely used non-narcotic pain relievers are Neurontin, Lyrica, Cymbalta, and Elavil.
As with any injury, illness, or condition, always consult a physician if you or someone you know is having spine or other orthopeadic problems. At Non-Surgical Orthopaedics, will be happy to consult with you. Please call us to schedule an appointment at any of our three Georgia facilities if you have questions or concerns about your injury and the type of medication and treatment you should acquire.
I’ve always wondered why pain relievers can be so addictive, and upon reading this, it clearly makes me wary of subjecting myself so easily to pain medications on instances where I may or may not need them. I’ll definitely take every pain in consideration from now on.