There are different types of topical medications, different ways of delivery and are available for patients with back and neck pain. A physician may combine one or more types of medication for maximum relief or as a way of limiting the side effects of larger doses of only one medication. Strong dose compounds and controlled drugs are only available with a doctor’s prescription.
Medicines that help control/reduce pain include:
Medicines with a low potency and low risk of side effects are available at stores and local pharmacies over-the-counter. But remember medications sold over the counter without a prescription doesn’t mean they are safe to use as much as possible. Please read the label and follow the instructions. Taking higher doses, even acetaminophen e.g. Tylenol can cause liver damage. Discussing these medications with a doctor or pharmacist before purchase would be wise. Your physician should know if you plan to continue using over-the-counter medications.
Inform your physician about all the products you take including herbal remedies to decrease the risk of side effects or potential severe drug interactions. When acute pain is present, injections either intravenous or intramuscular injected into the muscles are used. For chronic pain, medications are used and are typically in pill form. Both methods have limitations and different delivery approaches may be considered. This includes inhalation or topical on top of the skin applications.
These type of medications come prepared and are applied to the skin via:
Topical medications aim to reduce inflammation and soothe nerve and muscle pain. Some are available with a doctor’s prescription and others are over-the-counter. Medication administered through the skin is becoming more popular.
The skin is the largest organ of the body. It serves as water barrier protection, it regulates body temperature, controls fluid loss, and is important to homeostasis/healthy internal balance.
It is made up of many layers and is supported by a complex blood supply. The blood vessels are in a framework of connective tissue including fat and fascia that holds the tissues together. Below that layer is the bone and muscle. There are also nerve endings that relay touch, temperature, and pain signals from the skin to the spinal cord, to the brain.
Compounds have been developed to safely carry the various medicines through the skin into the blood. These compound enhancers are able to penetrate the skin by opening normally closed channels for a quick time to help the skin absorb the medication/s and then close back up.
Spine physicians and pain specialists often first recommend topical pain-relievers to help relieve the symptoms of back and neck pain/conditions.
Topical medicines may be used to treat the pain associated with:
As the medication is diffused through the skin and enters the bloodstream, it bypasses the digestive system reducing any unwanted side effects, like an irritated stomach.
Are topical pain-alleviating medications the right for you? The best person to ask is your doctor or healthcare provider. Upon a final diagnosis and medical history, your doctor should offer various treatments/therapies for pain management.
Patches and creams can be used to deliver a wide variety of medications. These topicals are becoming popular because of their convenience and, reduction of negative side-effects.
Everyone needs to take care of their back/spine because it is what holds us up as long as we keep it straight and strong. Strengthening the core can help prevent a weak and misaligned spine from getting worse and helps to eliminate pain.
Back safety should be priority one, as it affects all aspects of your life. Not only are you protecting your back, but are preventing future injury. We all need to pay attention to proper body positioning and body mechanics, as it will pay off in the long run.
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Functional & Physical Medicine & Nutritional Specialist*