Back pain can be a debilitating problem. Studies indicate that back pain is the most common reason for missed days of work, and that, for many people, pain is a chronic condition that affects their daily life. There may be several reasons why a person may consider medication for pain relief or muscle relaxation a primary form of treatment for ongoing back pain. In fact, medications are often prescribed by treating physicians, too. There is no denying that pharmaceutical drugs can alleviate the intensity of back pain. However, there are pros and cons of this method when used alone.
Medication as a form of treatment for back pain can:
- Reduce pain. When back pain is severe or chronic, a person just wants relief. Medication works relatively quickly to alleviate unpleasant symptoms related to a back injury or chronic condition.
- Ease of use. Medicating back pain is easy. Relief is nearly always at your fingertips. There is no driving across town for therapy or taking an afternoon off from work to treat pain.
- Improves mobility. Medication reduces pain and can also decrease muscle tension related to that pain. Therefore, medication can help a person perform the activities, such as physical therapy, that can improve the underlying cause of discomfort.
Some of the limitations of medication for back pain include:
- Medication is passive. It is important to remember that, while medication reduces pain, it is not resolving the issue that has caused uncomfortable symptoms.
- Dosing issues. The longer a person takes prescribed pain medication, such as an opioid, the more their body gets accustomed to the effects of medication. Therefore, over time, dosage increases are usually necessary in order to achieve the same degree of improvement.
- Treatment for chronic back pain has historically involved opioid medication. In recent years, we have entered into an epidemic in our country due to the highly addictive nature of opioids. Patients may approach their opioid use with immense care and still find themselves dependent on their medication at some point.
Medication may be an integral aspect of a treatment protocol, but may not be suitable as the primary method of care. It is in every patient’s best interest to consider the value of a multidimensional approach to treating back pain. Might surgery be the solution to restore your quality of life? Find out by consulting with esteemed NYC spine surgeon Dr. Todd Albert. Schedule your consultation at 212-606-1004.