Arthritis: Medications to Relieve Pain

Spinal arthritis, called osteoarthritis or spondylosis is a common cause of back pain.

Written by John J. Regan, MD

The type of arthritis that more commonly affects the spine is osteoarthritis, also called spondylosis. Other types of arthritis, inflammatory in nature include rheumatoid arthritis and ankylosing spondylitis. Here, we provide you with information about medications for osteoarthritis that may affect your neck, mid back, and/or low back.
Pain and Other Symptoms
The intensity and type of pain people experience as a result of arthritis in the spine varies from mild to severe, and occasional to episodic to chronic. Each type of pain is treated differently. Of course, it is not uncommon for arthritic neck or back pain to be accompanied by other symptoms, such as tingling sensations, numbness, or muscle spasms.

OTC and Prescription Drugs
Over-the-counter and prescription medications for spinal arthritis are usually the same as those taken to treat joint-related arthritic pain in the hips and knees—unless the diagnosis is rheumatoid or another type of inflammatory arthritis. For patients with symptoms of pain or numbness affecting the arms or legs, a spinal injection may be considered.

People with spinal arthritis today have access to different types of pain medications that can be taken or applied to relieve pain. Some require a doctor's prescription, some do not. However, do not assume that just because a drug is available without a prescription or "over the counter", it is safe for everyone.

Why Talk With Your Doctor First
Talk to your doctor about which pain medications are best for you. Be sure to let your doctor know what other medications you are taking, even for other health problems. Besides other drugs you take, tell your doctor about any vitamins, supplements or herbal products you use. This can help you to avoid drug interactions.

Non-Prescription Medications Include:

Prescription Medications Include:

Talk with your doctor about your neck and/or back pain to make sure your diagnosis is accurate and current. Remember that certain types of back problems are degenerative, meaning they may change, improve or worsen with time. Management of your spinal arthritis pain may involve more than one medication or therapy. You have choices, and your doctor can work with you to find the right drug or combination of medications and therapies.

Continue Reading

Arthritis: Non-surgical Treatments