Back pain can be debilitating, leaving us unable to perform even mundane everyday tasks. The good news? There are a variety of powerful painkillers which can help alleviate the discomfort. From over-the-counter medications to prescription-strength painkillers, this article will cover the strongest options available.

Over-The-Counter Painkillers


Acetaminophen (Tylenol) is an over-the-counter painkiller that is generally considered to be a safe, mild analgesic. While it is not a powerful pain reliever, it is still an effective option for mild to moderate pain, including back pain. It is important to note, however, that prolonged use of acetaminophen may have negative effects on your liver.

Non-Steroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drugs (NSAIDs)

Non-Steroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drugs (NSAIDs) are a type of medication that helps reduce inflammation and can be used to relieve pain. Common examples of NSAIDs include ibuprofen (Advil) and naproxen (Aleve). NSAIDs can be very effective in reducing back pain and are generally safe when used as directed.

Topical Painkillers

Topical painkillers, such as creams and ointments that are applied to the skin, can be an effective way to reduce back pain. These products work by providing a localized numbing sensation and contain ingredients such as menthol, camphor, and capsaicin. While they may not provide long-lasting relief, they can be an effective short-term remedy.

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Prescription Painkillers


Opioids are a type of prescription painkiller that are highly effective in reducing severe pain. While these medications may provide relief for those with severe pain, there is a high risk of addiction with their use. As such, doctors will typically only prescribe opioids as a last resort.

Muscle Relaxers

Muscle Relaxers are another type of prescription painkiller that are often used to treat back pain. These medications work to reduce muscle spasms and promote relaxation of the affected area. Common muscle relaxers include cyclobenzaprine (Flexeril), tizanidine (Zanaflex) and carisoprodol (Soma).


Antidepressants are sometimes prescribed to help manage chronic pain, including back pain. These medications help alter the body’s response to pain-causing chemicals, helping to reduce feelings of discomfort. Common antidepressant medications used to treat pain include amitriptyline (Elavil) and duloxetine (Cymbalta).

People Also Ask

What is the strongest painkiller for back pain?

The strongest painkiller for back pain is usually prescription opioids. However, due to the risk of addiction, they are typically only prescribed as a last resort.

What natural remedies can be used to treat back pain?

There are a number of natural remedies which can be used to treat back pain. Some natural remedies include ice/heat therapy, stretching exercises, massage and acupuncture.

What over-the-counter medications can be used to treat back pain?

Some over-the-counter medications that can be used to treat back pain include acetaminophen, NSAIDs and topical painkillers.

Is it safe to take painkillers for back pain?

When taken as directed and under the guidance of a doctor, it is generally safe to take painkillers for back pain. However, it is important to note that prolonged use of some pain medications may have side effects.

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Does exercise help with back pain?

Yes, exercise can be an effective way to reduce back pain. Low-impact exercises such as walking and swimming can help strengthen the muscles and can reduce stiffness and discomfort.

Final Words

Back pain is one of the most common causes of disability worldwide and can interfere with everyday activities. Thankfully, there are a variety of medications that can help provide relief. While over-the-counter medications can be an effective way to manage mild to moderate pain, those with severe pain may want to consider talking to their doctor about prescription painkillers.