Medications for Back Pain: NSAIDs, Opioids, Anti-Depressants and Supplements

Chris Regal | Jun 8th 2012 Oct 10th 2017

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Supplements do not require FDA approval.
  1. 1 True
  2. 0 False
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The biggest difference between a medication and a supplement is FDA approval; generally treatments that are categorized as supplements do not need FDA approval before hitting the market.  However, because of that, there is a risk for harmful side effects.   That said, some effective supplements include white willow bark, bromelain, Boswellia and warfarin.  For more information, see [Herbs and Supplements](http://www.healthcentral.com/chronic-pain/back-pain-and-sciatica-000054_6-145_4.html).

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  1. Supplements do not require FDA approval.

    Correct Answer: True

    The biggest difference between a medication and a supplement is FDA approval; generally treatments that are categorized as supplements do not need FDA approval before hitting the market.  However, because of that, there is a risk for harmful side effects.   That said, some effective supplements include white willow bark, bromelain, Boswellia and warfarin.  For more information, see [Herbs and Supplements](http://www.healthcentral.com/chronic-pain/back-pain-and-sciatica-000054_6-145_4.html).

  2. Muscle relaxants used for back pain include Oxycontin, Percocet and Vicodin.

    Correct Answer: False

    Oxycontin, Percocet and Vicodin are examples of opioids, synthetic narcotics that are as pain relievers for the central nervous system.  For more information, see [Opioid Pain Relievers](http://www.healthcentral.com/chronic-pain/back-pain-and-sciatica-000054_6-145_2.html).

  3. Acetaminophen (Tylenol) is a safe and effective pain reliever for acute back pain.

    Correct Answer: True

    The benefits of the drug are usually felt 30 to 60 minutes after ingesting the medication and the benefits last for several hours.  It is available over the counter and is effective in treating mild back pain.  For more information, see [Medications](http://www.healthcentral.com/chronic-pain/back-pain-and-sciatica-000054_6-145_1.html).

  4. Ibuprofen can be prescribed both over-the-counter and via a doctor prescription.

    Correct Answer: True

    Ibuprofen is a common nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug used to treat back pain.  Several over-the-counter drugs are available, including aspirin, ibuprofen (Motrin, Advil) and naproxen (Aleve).  NSAIDs can also be prescribed, including ibuprofen, naproxen, flurbiprofen (Ansaid), diclofenac (Voltaren) and tolmetin (Tolectin), among others.  For more information, see [Medications](http://www.healthcentral.com/chronic-pain/back-pain-and-sciatica-000054_6-145_1.html).

  5. Long-term use of NSAIDs does not carry significant health risks. In fact, it is recommended for heart health.

    Correct Answer: False

    The FDA has issued "black box" warnings for risks including heart disease, ulcers, gastrointestinal bleeding and dyspepsia (burning bloating feeling in the bit of the stomach).  Other side effects may include drowsiness, skin bruising, high blood pressure, headache, living damage and rash.  For more information, see [Medications](http://www.healthcentral.com/chronic-pain/back-pain-and-sciatica-000054_6-145_1.html).

  6. Oxymorphone (Numorphan) is an alternative to opioid drugs. It is not as addictive as opioids, not does it cause the gastrointestinal issues of NSAIDs.

    Correct Answer: False

    Tramadol (Ultram) is the alternative to opioids.  Oxymorphone is an opioid itself.  For more information, see [Opioid Pain Relievers](http://www.healthcentral.com/chronic-pain/back-pain-and-sciatica-000054_6-145_2.html).

  7. Anti-depressants can only be used for back pain relief by people who are depressed.

    Correct Answer: False

    Antidepressants may lessen the severity of pain in some patients with chronic back pain.  Antidepressants called trcyclics may be effective painkillers in non-depressed people.  For more information, see [Antidepressants](http://www.healthcentral.com/chronic-pain/back-pain-and-sciatica-000054_6-145_4.html).

  8. Corticosteroids injections work for back pain by building muscle around impinged nerves, creating a more stable joint.

    Correct Answer: False

    Corticosteroid injections treat back pain caused by a nerve impingement.  The injection is placed as close to the affected nerve as possible, where the corticosteroid reduces the inflammation around the nerve.  Corticosteroids are not the same as synthetic steroids.  For more information, see [Epidural Steroid Injections](http://www.healthcentral.com/chronic-pain/back-pain-and-sciatica-000054_6-145_3.html).