by Alan Jordan
To accurately and most effectively treat your neck pain or back pain, your doctor will need to make a proper diagnosis. This involves determining what the cause of your pain actually is. When a diagnosis has been made, he or she will be better able to prescribe medications and/or spinal injections to deal with your symptoms.
The medications and injections should be part of a larger treatment plan that includes other treatment options, such as physical therapy, chiropractic or acupuncture. In other words, medication alone is not the ultimate solution to your back pain.
We strongly advise all patients to read the information provided in the medication packets in order to be aware of any adverse side effects and their warning signs.
Paracetamol and Ibuprofen
Patients experiencing neck pain are understandably looking for symptom relief. According to the NHS Guidelines, patients experiencing neck pain are recommended to begin a course of treatment with paracetamol or ibuprofen.
Paracetamol is a mild analgesic that is commonly used for headaches and aches and sprains.
Ibuprofen is a non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug commonly used for the treatment of pain and swelling. The possible side effects range from stomach upset to erectile dysfunction and they should be reviewed. Due to the fact that it is a vasoconstrictor, it acts against swelling through the reduction of blood blow.
The recommended dosage of paracetamol is 500mg to 1g up to four times a day and with ibuprofen, tablets of 400 mg should be taken three times daily, but they are most effective if taken four times daily.
Patients below 16 years old should seek medical advice before initiating treatment. If your pain is not responding adequately, then consider codeine in conjunction with paracetamol. These 30mg tablets are most effective if taken every four to six hours. A maximum of eight tablets per day is recommended. Individuals under the age of 16 should seek medical advice.
Tricyclic Antidepressants including amitriptyline must be prescribed by a physician and are effective muscle relaxants and they enable patients to sleep more readily. Dosages prescribed for neck pain are normally far lower than those prescribed for depression and patients must be over 18 years of age.
Although they are commonly prescribed for neck pain, antidepressants have not been found to be particularly useful as regards the relief of neck pain as recommended in clinical guidelines.
Prescriptive Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs as well as injection therapy, including facet joint injections, nerve blocks and epidurals will be dealt with in greater detail in a coming article.