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The best painkillers for back pain

Most cases of back pain get better within a few weeks or months; however, taking painkillers can be important for managing any pain you may be in.

There are different types of painkillers that you can take for back pain: non-prescription and stronger prescription painkillers.

Non-prescription painkillers

Non-prescription painkillers, such as paracetamol or non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), can help to relieve back pain.

You can buy these from a pharmacy, supermarket or high-street chemist without a prescription. However, paracetamol and NSAIDs aren't suitable for everyone, so check the box or leaflet to see whether you can take the medicine first.

Speak to a pharmacist if you're not sure.

Applying a warm compress to your back can also provide short-term relief from pain. You can buy heat patches from your local pharmacy, but a hot water bottle will work just as well.

Prescription painkillers

If your pain doesn’t improve with non-prescription painkillers and heat, your doctor may also prescribe a muscle relaxant or a stronger type of painkiller.

If your doctor prescribes a strong painkiller or muscle relaxant, they will usually only give you a short course as you can become dependent on strong painkillers if you take them for a long period of time.

Find out more about other ways to manage back pain.

Date of last review: 24 June 2020

Content supplied byNHS Logonhs.uk

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Important: Our website provides useful information but is not a substitute for medical advice. You should always seek the advice of your doctor when making decisions about your health.

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