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AU Registered Medical Device
12-month warranty
Same day dispatch
Professionally endorsed

Back Pain Medicines: What Are The Options?

An old man having a back pain.

Back pain is when you feel discomfort or an intense burning sensation in your back. It can be caused by damage to the nerve fibres in your spinal cord. It can be incredibly painful and stop people from moving. Fortunately, there are medications that can help relieve pain. Some back pain medicines are available over-the-counter (OTC) or may require a doctor’s prescription. The best medicine options are ibuprofen, acetaminophen, naproxen, tramadol, cyclobenzaprine, and opioids.

Keep in mind the many side effects of any medication. If you want to treat pain without using medications, you can use TENS therapy. Transcutaneous Electrical Nerve Stimulation (TENS) is a good alternative that has no major side effects. It is affordable and you can use it many times throughout the day. In this article, we will present the medicine options to treat back pain including OTC and prescriptions, as well as TENS therapy.

Back Pain Medicine: Over-the-Counter Medications

The easiest type of back pain medication to acquire is over-the-counter. This medicine is available for purchase at any pharmacy. They are often affordable and can alleviate pain from many causes. Firstly, ibuprofen (Motrin, Advil) is one of the types of non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAID). This is the most recommended OTC medicine for back pain by doctors. It may cause side effects like constipation, diarrhea, gas or bloating, dizziness, nervousness and ringing in the ears.

Secondly, naproxen (Aleve) is another form of NSAID. Naproxen and ibuprofen both produce a substance that contributes to pain, fever, and inflammation. The amount of this medicine can vary on a person’s pain level. Some of the effects of ibuprofen may also experience in naproxen. Other effects may include headache, lightheadedness, difficulty sleeping, cold symptoms and hearing problems.

Lastly, acetaminophen such as Tylenol and Actamin are OTC medications that also relieve pain and reduce fever. Common side effects from this medicine are nausea, rash, and headaches. These medications may provide relief, however, they have their own side effects. Some side effects can also be severe. If these symptoms persist, call a doctor.

Common Medications for Back Pain Treatment

  • Tylenol: it works by blocking certain chemicals in the brain that cause pain and fever.
  • Advil: it helps relieve pain, reduce inflammation, and lower fever by inhibiting the production of certain chemicals in the body.
  • Motrin: reduces inflammation, and lowers fever.
  • Aleve: alleviates pain, inflammation, and fever by blocking the production of specific chemicals in the body.
  • Anaprox: contains naproxen sodium, used to treat various conditions that cause pain and inflammation.
  • Amrix: it helps relax muscles and relieve muscle spasms associated with back pain.
  • Conzip: a prescription opioid medication containing tramadol. It is used for the treatment of moderate to severe pain.

A man holding his lower back.

Back Pain Medicine: Prescription Medications

Sometimes, OTC medications are not sufficient. If your pain is very severe, you may need a prescription for back pain medicine. For this, you will need to see a doctor. First off is cyclobenzaprine (Amrix, Fexmid). This is a type of muscle relaxant that relaxes the muscles and relieves pain in the back. Some of the side effects may include nausea, dizziness, dry mouth, constipation, heartburn, and extreme tiredness.

Second, opioids such as codeine, morphine sulphate, fentanyl patch, oxycodone HCI, and hydromorphone HCI are some strong classes of medication described by doctors. However, these are only intended for the most severe types of pain. Doctors will not prescribe opioids unless it is the only medication that can truly treat the condition.

Another type of prescription pain medication is tramadol. It can treat back pain, though it is not usually a doctor’s first recommendation. Like opioids, it is normally not used unless there is no other option. Tramadol can have a slew of side effects, including headaches, shaking, heartburn, and mood swings.

How Else a Doctor Can Help

Doctors can do far more than just give a prescription. They can assess your condition and help determine its root cause. Once they know this, they can develop a treatment plan. In some cases, they can send you to physical therapy. Exercise is a crucial part of the recovery process.

Some patients may be able to do this on their own, but others may have a more severe case that requires patients to see a professional to guide them. Doctors may also recommend a chiropractic treatment plan. This type of treatment can help realign your back, getting it into the correct position.

A wireless TENS pain relief product.

Back Pain Medicine: Using TENS as an Alternative

If back pain medicine does not work or you want to try something different, there are other options for pain relief. TENS therapy is a far less invasive method to manage pain. This system sends electrical pulses to targeted nerves via electrode pads on the body. These pulses cut off pain signals from going to the brain, reducing pain in the targeted area. They also stimulate the body to release endorphins, which serve as natural painkillers.

A TENS unit, like iTENS, is very easy to use. Simply connect the pads to the afflicted area, turn the device on, and begin treatment. Pain relief can be immediate, so there is no waiting for the effects to kick in like with some medications. Wireless devices are highly mobile. The pads connect to a smartphone app via Bluetooth, meaning the user can set them up and start a therapy session on their phone no matter where they are.

TENS is a non-invasive treatment method, meaning it has no major side effects. Compared to medications, which may have adverse effects on the body, TENS is far less likely to cause harm.

Safety Precautions

Remember to keep in mind these guidelines when using TENS. Firstly, be sure to properly maintain it. This means cleaning your skin before use and wiping down the pads after use. The cleaner the pads are, the longer their adhesiveness will last.

Secondly, remember to use TENS safely. There are no major side effects to TENS, but it can cause mild skin irritation if used too long. Take a 20-minute break between sessions, or longer if your skin starts to turn red. Do not place pads on wounds or bones to avoid irritating them too much.


Back pain is debilitating and can be unexpected. The recovery process may take time depending on the severity and cause of the pain. Managing the pain is important during the recovery period. Finding the right back pain medication is crucial. It can make daily life much easier. Fortunately, there are OTC and prescription options available for relieving back pain. It is important to discuss with your doctor which one is best for you.

OTC medications are accessible and affordable from pharmacies. They can provide relief from mild to moderate pain. Common OTC medications include ibuprofen, acetaminophen, or naproxen. On the other hand, prescription medications are more powerful and may be necessary for severe pain. Some prescription medicines include opioids and muscle relaxants. For a non-invasive pain management tool, try TENS therapy. You may visit iTENS Australia for the best and most affordable TENS on the market.

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