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TREATMENTS FOR BACK PAIN

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Treatment and management of your back pain depends on what type of back pain you’re experiencing. Most back pain is mechanical, but if your back pain is inflammatory, it’s important your doctor knows that, as it can affect your treatment plan.

"For a long time, I believed severe back pain was just my lot in life. But then I was formally diagnosed with inflammatory back pain. It was a life changer – it meant finding out about treatments and options that are specific to what I have."

- Frank, Markham, Ontario*

*Actual patient. May not be representative of all patients.

There are many different medical treatments for back pain; some are given primarily to treat the symptoms you are feeling, while others are given to address the underlying causes of back pain.

MECHANICAL BACK PAIN

If your pain is considered to be mechanical in nature here are some of the types of medications that could be recommended by your doctor.

* Note that this is not a complete list of medications, and that the medications listed below are also used to treat other conditons. If you have questions about any of the medications listed below, contact your healthcare professional.


MEDICATION TYPE

NSAIDs and acetaminophen

SIDE EFFECTS

Stomach pain, ulcers or bleeding, and liver or kidney damage.


MEDICATION TYPE

Narcotics

SIDE EFFECTS

Drowsiness, impaired judgment, nausea or vomiting, constipation and itching.


MEDICATION TYPE

Muscle Relaxants

SIDE EFFECTS

Drowsiness, confusion, nausea and vomiting.


MEDICATION TYPE

Antidepressants

SIDE EFFECTS

Dry mouth, constipation, blurred vision, weight gain, sleepiness, problems urinating, and sexual problems.


MEDICATION TYPE

Anticonvulsants and anti-seizure medications

SIDE EFFECTS

Weight gain or weight loss, upset stomach, loss of appetite, skin rashes, drowsiness or feeling confused, and headaches.

INFLAMMATORY BACK PAIN

In cases where back pain is inflammatory, these are some of the types of medications that could be considered by your doctor.

* Note that this is not a complete list of medications, and that the medications listed below are also used to treat other conditions. If you have questions about any of the medications listed below, contact your healthcare professional.


MEDICATION TYPE

NSAIDs (non-steroidal anti-inflammatory)

SIDE EFFECTS

Stomach irritation, which over time can lead to heartburn, gastritis, ulcers or bleeding.


MEDICATION TYPE

Sulfasalazine

SIDE EFFECTS

Can include headaches, abdominal bloating, nausea and oral ulcers. In rare cases, this medication can cause bone barrow suppression.


MEDICATION TYPE

Methotrexate

SIDE EFFECTS

Most common side effects are ulcers and nausea.


MEDICATION TYPE

Corticosteroids

SIDE EFFECTS

Long term use can result in severe side effects.

* The information provided here is not intended to take the place of your doctor's advice. All medications can cause side effects, some of which are serious.

Physical Therapy and Inflammatory Back Pain

If your back pain is inflammatory, your doctor may recommend physical therapy and exercise as a first step towards relief. He or she can direct you to resources that are experienced in treating patients with inflammatory back pain.

What can patients do to help themselves?

"Patients should know how they can help themselves; for example, knowing how to use specific back-strengthening exercises. They should also know where to find help when they need it. Finally, patients should get unbiased information about their
health problem."

- Dr Maksymowych, Rheumatologist,
Edmonton, Alberta
*

Is it inflammatory? Or mechanical back pain?
Knowing can make a difference.

THINGS YOU CAN DO

Medical treatment can go a long way in helping you relieve your back pain – but did you know there are other things that you can do to take the strain off your back? Here are a few tips:

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Try therapies like manual therapy, physiotherapy, acupuncture, behavioural therapy, hot and cold treatments or massage

Learn more >
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Adjust your sleeping position

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Stay active and keep moving – try exercises to keep your back strong and limber

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Adjust your posture or work area

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