What is the most effective method to treat back pain? A New Study Offers helpful medication guide SciTechDaily


For those who are older and suffer from spinal-related pain, there are a variety of painkillers can be found.

Medication should be utilized in conjunction with physical therapy exercises, and treatment of the degenerative illness process as well as medical condition.

The increasing number of seniors suffer from spinal pain. While medicines are vital to manage pain however, patients with geriatric conditions cannot benefit from these drugs as often due to a decrease in kidney and liver function, co-morbid diseases or the use of polypharmacy (the concurrent use of several medicines to treat medical conditions).

A recent review study has revealed that acetaminophen can be used safely in older people, but nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory medications (ibuprofen) might be better suited in treating spinal pain. Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs should be utilized in lower doses for a short duration with caution regarding gastrointestinal issues and corticosteroids are the weakest evidence to treat nonspecific back pain.

In addition, older adults can take the anti-nerve pain drugs gabapentin or pregabalin but be cautious regarding dosage as well as kidney functioning. In consideration of possible dizziness and drowsiness antidepressants (duloxetine) could help with back pain more effectively than the older one (nortriptyline). When considering liver and kidney functioning, many muscles relaxation drugs (such like baclofen, tizanidine and others) are a possibility for older individuals. Opioids are not effective for treating common back discomfort, but they are a possibility when other options do not work.

“Most older adults suffer from neck or low back discomfort at some moment, enough to visit their doctor. Our findings offer a treatment guideline for doctors to apply to spine pain in older people who may have a complicated medical background,” explained corresponding author Michael D. Perloff, MD, Ph.D. is an assistant professor of neurology at the Boston University School of Medicine (BUSM) and neurologists who works at Boston Medical Center.

The researchers conducted an analysis of the literature to determine the scientific basis for medicines prescribed for pain associated with the spine in older adults, with a an emphasis on the metabolism of drugs as well as adverse reactions to drugs. The researchers then offered their suggestions that are based on safe and efficient dosage.

They also found:

  • Pregabalin and gabapentin, two pain medications, can cause dizziness or trouble walking, but they can also provide certain benefits in treating neck as well as back nerve back pain (such like sciatica) for older people. They should be administered at lower doses and with lower dose adjustments.
  • Certain muscles relaxants (carisoprodol, metaxalone, chlorzoxazone and cyclobenzaprine methocarbamol, orphenadrine, and carisoprodol) are generally avoided by older people due to the possibility of falling and sedation. Other (tizanidine baclofen, tizanidine, dantrolene) could be beneficial in treating back and neck pain. back pain with the strongest evidence supporting tizanidine and baclofen. These medications should be taken in smaller doses, and avoid the use of tizanidine in patients with liver disease, and cutting down on baclofen dosages in kidney disease.
  • Antidepressants older than that are generally not recommended for older people because of their adverse effects. However, nortriptyline as well as desipramine might be more palatable in the treatment of neck or back nerve pain in lower doses. In general, antidepressants that are more recent (namely duloxetine) offer a higher safety profile and are effective for spinal-related nerve pain.
  • Tramadol can be used in older people, however it has the potential to cause constipation, stomach upset, and constipation. It can be administered in smaller doses when other treatments have failed, and it is well-suited to co-administration of Acetaminophen. Opioids are generally avoided because of their adverse consequences and risk of death However, low dose opioid therapy could be useful in cases of severe refractory pain, with careful monitoring of patients clinically.

According to the researchers physical therapy, complementary medicine as well as injections and surgeries all can aid older patients suffering from spinal pain. “Medications that are administered at the right dosage, in accordance with the appropriate diagnosis, and adjusting for any preexisting medical issues can lead to greater effectiveness of treatments that treat spine back pain” said the lead author Jonathan Fu, a 2022 MD graduate of BUSM.

Referred to as “Pharmacotherapy of Spinal-related Pain older adults” written by Jonathan L. Fu and Michael D. Perloff 27 June 2022 Drugs and Aging.

DOI: 10.1007/s40266-022-00946-x