by Alan Jordan
There are a number of causes of neck pain and while many of them can be treated with prescription drugs, it is important that a diagnosis is made first so the correct type of medication can be prescribed.
Common postural and muscular neck pain may be effectively treated with paracetamol or a mild anti-inflammatory drug. However, more intense neck pain may need to be treated with codeine preparations or drugs that have more of an impact on pain pathways.
Medications for Neck Pain
Paracetamol – This commonly used painkiller is very popular in the UK because it is tolerated well by most patients and is generally very safe. While it does not tend to cause stomach problems, it can in very rare cases cause kidney damage. The maximum dose of two tablets every six hours must not be exceeded and it should never be taken with other medications that contain paracetamol.
Compound analgesics – This stronger form of medication can be used when paracetamol is not helping to ease the pain. There are many variations, but, usually, paracetamol is combined with codeine (Cocodamol) or a codeine derivative such as codydramol or tramadol. Codeine is very effective, but it can cause side effects such as drowsiness and constipation.
NSAIDs – Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) include Ibuprofen and Diclofenac and are available over the counter in low doses. Higher doses can also be prescribed for patients who need them.
These drugs are anti-inflammatory and have analgesic properties too so they can be used to treat patients with simple neck pain and those with neck pain symptoms with inflammatory causes, such as facet joint disease.
While they tend to be tolerated well, side effects can include diarrhea, abdominal pain and indigestion. NSAIDs can also cause problems with blood pressure and the kidneys, so you should take care if you have heart disease, hypertension or a history of kidney trouble.
If you would like more information about neck pain medication and the other drugs that are available, such as pregabalin, gabapentin, amitryptilline and nortryptilline, you can read more in our Broadgate Journal Article. If you are experiencing neck pain, Broadgate Spine & Joint Clinic’s team of specialists can help. Call 020 7638 4330 now or email [email protected].