3 Non-Opioid Pain Medications Used To Treat Chronic Back Pain

Posted on: 18 August 2021

If you suffer from chronic back pain due to a herniated disc, sciatica, spinal stenosis, or another spine problem, and currently treat your pain with only over-the-counter pain medications that barely dull the pain, then you should visit a pain clinic to discuss your additional treatment options.

If you do not want to take opioid medications due to their addictive nature, you may be surprised to hear that pain management clinic physicians often prescribe a variety of other medications with little potential for addiction that can help relieve chronic back pain.  

Read on to learn about three non-opioid pain medications often used to treat chronic back pain and how they work. 

1. Corticosteroids

Corticosteroids can be used to fight back pain in two ways: they can be taken by mouth and they can be injected into the spine. This medication type helps ease pain by reducing the inflammation that causes some back pain types. 

Oral corticosteroids increase the level of hormones in the body that the adrenal glands naturally create in response to injury development. Corticosteroids also suppress the immune system slightly to help ease pain caused by autoimmune diseases.

Corticosteroid injections, also called epidural steroids, on the other hand, decrease inflammation at and around the site of injection without suppressing the immune system as much. These injections may be a better option than oral corticosteroids if your back pain is not caused by an autoimmune disease. 

2. Antidepressants 

Pain clinic physicians often prescribe antidepressants to help relieve the pain caused by some back conditions.

While the reason that medications created to treat depression also help alleviate pain is not completely understood, it is currently believed that the neurotransmitters, or natural chemicals, that these drugs increase in the brain and body help reduce pain as they also relieve feelings of depression. The most common antidepressant type prescribed for pain treatment is the tricyclic antidepressant. 

Back pain conditions that antidepressants treat best include lower back pain, arthritis pain, and pain caused by nerve damage in the back. 

3. Muscle Relaxants

Another medication type that can help relieve some types of back pain is a muscle relaxant. There are several muscle relaxant medications, but those most commonly prescribed for back pain relief include baclofen, benzodiazepine medications, such as diazepam and temazepam, cyclobenzaprine, and dantrolene. 

These medications work best to treat pain caused by muscle spasms that some chronic back conditions can cause. Some of these medications also help reduce back muscle stiffness, back spasticity caused by spinal injuries, and/or help alleviate back pain caused by nerve damage. 

If you suffer from chronic back pain, a back pain clinic physician can provide many non-drug back pain therapies and can prescribe one or more non-opioid medications that may help relieve your back pain more effectively than your current OTC medications. 


Welcome to Sara's Site

Hi there! My name is Sara Jerba. I'm no doctor, but I'm very familiar with them due to experience. You could say I was a sickly child. Between various allergies and a few other conditions, I got to be very good friends with my doctors and nurses. Although I hate staying overnight in the hospital, I do feel quite at home there. Now, don't feel sorry for me. Most of my conditions have eased or even abated entirely as I've grown up. And none of them were ever life-threatening--just inconvenient. It's actually been very positive in the long run; it's brought a lot of wonderful people and important knowledge into my life that I wouldn't have had otherwise.

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