The term Analgesics encompasses a class of drugs that are designed to relieve pain without causing the loss of consciousness. The different classes of analgesic drugs include:

  • Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), such as ibuprofen (e.g. brand names Advil, Nuprin, Motrin), naproxen (e.g. brand names Aleve, Naprosyn), or prescription Cox-2 inhibitors (e.g. brand name Celebrex). NSAIDs are commonly used to reduce pain and inflammation. Since inflammation is often a component of back pain, NSAIDs are often part of the treatment regimen for many types of back pain.
  • Narcotics, such as morphine, and synthetic narcotic drugs, such as methadone, may be used for pain relief. Narcotic pain medications work by dissociating the patient from the pain. Although the pain is still present the sensation of the pain is changed by the narcotic. All narcotics are carry the risk of addiction, and if taken for a long time, may result in withdrawal symptoms such as sweating and anxiety when discontinued.
  • Tylenol (acetaminophen) is a centrally acting non narcotic pain reliever that does not have an anti-inflammatory effect. It does not cross react with NSAIDs and therefore the two classes of medications can be taken together