Acetaminophen, best known as Tylenol, is one of the most common medications for headaches and general pain. More than likely the most common back, neck, and overall pain medication around. However, it is only a pain reducer, and will not reduce inflammation.
Doctors often recommend this medicine before moving on to prescription medication. A member of the analgesic pain reliever class of medications. These can vary in strength along with side effects, but their purpose is to reduce pain. Acetaminophen can be found in over 600 prescriptions and over-the-counter medicines, including certain opioids. Other acetaminophen brand names include:
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When neck or back pain presents, over-the-counter medicines fall into two categories. These are acetaminophen or non-steroid anti-inflammatory drugs also known as NSAIDs. Acetaminophen and NSAIDs like Advil, aspirin both relieve pain. However, non-steroid anti-inflammatories also help in reducing inflammation. Although non-steroid anti-inflammatories have this added benefit, they can also present potential side effects like stomach and gastrointestinal problems.
A spinal sprain or strain can cause acute back pain. Acetaminophen is typically recommended for acute back or neck pain and for pain that comes and goes quickly. Individuals that experience periodic pain usually take acetaminophen when the pain flares up. Individuals with chronic spinal pain report acetaminophen help to alleviate/reduce the pain. Many with chronic pain use acetaminophen regularly and not only when the pain presents. This helps manage before pain strikes.
Acetaminophen is gentle on the stomach, making some individuals preferring it over the non-steroid anti-inflammatories. But just like any other medication acetaminophen has its risks and can cause severe damage if used improperly.
Taking acetaminophen in large doses can cause severe liver damage. The Food and Drug Administration reports that acetaminophen overdoses send over fifty-thousand individuals to the emergency room every year. And over one-hundred Americans die yearly from accidental overdoses.
Using acetaminophen safely means taking no more than 3,000 milligrams a day and no more than 1,000 milligrams at a time. Take extra precautions when taking extra-strength. These can include as much as 650 mg per pill/capsule.
Before taking acetaminophen for back and neck pain, talk to a doctor or pharmacist about the proper dosage. And tell the doctor about all the medications being taken including natural herbs and holistic. Another reason for telling the doctor is that many other medications have acetaminophen included without you knowing it. Part of the discussion should include alcohol consumption. This can elevate the risk of negative reactions.
If non-pharmacological treatments/therapies done for at least 4 months prove ineffective then an acetaminophen regimen could be a safe and effective part of a back and neck pain treatment plan. While this medicine is one of the most common treatments, it is not without risks and side effects. Talk to a doctor or pharmacist about all the medications and supplements to ensure the regimen supports health for the long-term. To learn more along with safety information go to Acetaminophen Patient Guide.
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