Sciatica pain medications such as over-the-counter medications include a group of drugs called NSAIDs. The term NSAIDs stands for non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs. NSAIDs are a group of drugs that work similarly to one another to relieve pain and reduce inflammation.
There is no one “right” NSAID for back pain — you may need to try a few before you can identify the best choice.In addition to aspirin, there are currently several types of over the counter NSAIDs used to treat sciatica and lower back pain:
The three types of NSAIDs most commonly used to treat back pain include:
- Ibuprofen (brand names: Advil, Motrin, Nuprin)
- Naproxen (brand names: Aleve, Naprosyn)
- Aspirin (brand names: Anacin, Ascriptin, Bayer, Bufferin, Ecotrin, Excedrin)
Because most episodes of back pain have inflammation as a contributing factor, anti-inflammatory medication such as non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) is often an effective pain medication treatment option. Some doctors say that it is better to use NSAIDs continuously to build up an anti-inflammatory blood level, and the efficacy is markedly lower if taken only when experiencing pain. Taking the drug regularly in the prescribed/recommended dose may let the drug build up over time in order to have an anti-inflammatory effect.
Ibuprofen (Brand Names: Advil, Motrin, Nuprin)
Ibuprofen was one of the original non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs and is available without a prescription. For patients with back problems, ibuprofen is most commonly recommended to relieve mild or moderate back pain, tenderness, inflammation, and stiffness.
Naproxen (Brand Names: Aleve, Naprosyn, Anaprox, Naprelan)
Naproxen is available in both non-prescription strength (brand name: Aleve) and prescription strength (brand name: Naprosyn). For patients with back pain, it works by reducing proteins that cause inflammation and pain in the body and is commonly recommended for treatment of back pain.
Aspirin (Brand Names: Bufferin, Bayer, and Excedrin)
Aspirin is used to treat mild to moderate pain, and also to reduce fever or inflammation. It is sometimes used to treat or prevent heart attacks, strokes, and angina. Aspirin is sometimes used to treat or prevent heart attacks, strokes, and chest pain (angina). *Aspirin should be used for cardiovascular conditions only under the supervision of a doctor.