T Nation

prescription drugs/back probs

I’m curious if any of you who have dealt with disc problems in the lower back had any success with any prescription anti-inflammatories or pain killers. I just had my third epidural injection, and didn’t respond at all this time unfortunately. I don’t really want to get carved up yet, so I’m looking for something else to try first. Anyone have any luck with vioxx, celebrex(?), anything?

Thanks for any input.


Epidurals are usually the last shot before surgery. I believe the drugs you mentioned work on arthritis and not inpinged nerves. I don’t know of any non addicting morphine-like pain drug that will relieve the nerve pain. My surgery for a herniated disk went great. I just wish I hadn’t waited and suffered for 4 years while I looked for an alternative to the knife. Good luck.

It seems you are headed to the operating table. Daypro or Relafen are good anti inflamatories, but your case may be to severe for such drugs. You can try a cortisone shot that may relieve some pressure. For pain I recommend good old narcotics, loratabs, vicodin, percocet, demoral, or oramorph depending on the severity of the pain. Don’t be fooled nothing workes better, but they are only temporary solutions. Get it fixed permenantely is my suggestion.

Thanks for the input, guys. Shit, with the doc I have, I’ll never get any of those pain killers. So far he’s advised me to take aleve and ibuprofin… I’d have already had the surgery, but he wants to do a fusion. I’m in the best shape of my life at 27, and don’t know if I’m looking forward to 6 months or a year of rehab. Again, thanks for the help guys.

I have a herniated, degenerative disk at L5/S1, with significant sciatica, but I am trying very hard not to have surgery. I have had three epidural with little to no success. I have also been on Vioxx for my arthritis and it doesn’t help much with the back pain. I recently had a denervation procedure (search goggle under rf denervation) to kill the pain nerves associated with my left side L5/S1 facet joint. I am finally not experiencing the dreaded sciatica that I had been fighting with for over 20 months. Although, it doesn?t fix anything relieving the pain is a great first step. I guess to answer your question the Vioxx hasn?t relieved any of my pain associated with my disk problems, but without it I would have a lot more trouble with my knees and ankles. I didn?t respond well to muscle relaxants either. I?m still searching for the non-surgical fix!

You problem sounds almost identical to mine, except for the fact that mine is the L4/L5 disc(which is basically the same as yours since my L5 is a “transitional vertebrae”,at least I think that’s what they called it). And I just had my 3rd epidural as well, with no success. I’m looking for the non-surgical procedure as well, but nothing’s doing any good so far.

Man, I know what you are going through. Low back pain sucks. I am so fed up with it that I started squating again. I found that nothing helped (before the denervation) and nothing made it worse. A month off, heaving squating, nothing made changed the pain! Look up the facet denervation, it has helped me. It is similar to the injection except that the needles are RF sources, which heat the nerves up to 80oC and kill them. Often times the facet joints are ignored by the doctors but think about it they are under a non-uniform load if you have any type of disk hernaition. The constant loading causes them to become inflamed and BANG you have sciatica. If it hurts more when you twist your trunk it is most likely a facet problem. However, I am a PhD not an MD 8-), ask your doctor. Before my denervation they did a test where they injected my facet joints with a little bit of Novacaine. Then I did the movements that caused me the most pain and I was pain free. That way they can tell if it is truly the facet or not. In my case it was, although I still have some low back pain, the sciatica was the show stopper. I stood like a flamingo most of the time.

Man, this is weird. I got so sick of this about 3 weeks ago that I started squatting again. The only problem is I can tell it gets a little worse when I do squat. But what the hell. Lots of pain and no squats, or lots of pain(plus a bit extra) and get to do my squats… The only differenct I can see is that the low back pain is the majority of my problem. I have some bouts with sciatica, but usually the pain is very localized. Occasionally, I lose some feeling in my lower leg, but usually it’s just extreme pain in my lower back on the left which leaves me “standing like a flamingo”. Thanks for the advice, I’ll look into that denervation.

Mr. Cold, I don’t know why your doc wants you to have the fusion, but it doesn’t seem like a good idea to me. I had lower back surgery on two discs, l4/l5 &l5/s1 a few years ago. I kept myself out of surgery for a few years using a Chiropractor. Once the pain got so bad that I had to crawl down the stairs and into the car with tears in my eyes to get to the doctor, I had the surgery. No fusion though, just a double lamenectomy (sp?). I don’t like the idea of losing any movement in those vertebrae. After the surgery I am almost as good as new, no pain or soreness unless I push myself too hard. Every once and a while I have an “episode” where my lower back muscles tighten up and I am down in bed for a few days taking ibuprophen, muscle relaxants and laying on a heating pad. It sucks, but the Doc says that’s the way it’s gonna be. Just wanted to share with you and let you know the fusion may not be mandatory. Herc

Actually, now that you mention it, he gave me a couple of options for surgeries. The first was the lamenectomy(sp), but that was the one he recommended least. The second was the posterior only fusion, which was his second choice. The third was the posterior fusion(unless I got my “teriors” mixed up"). I’ve talked to different doctors, but that was the only one who actually told me anything. The frustrating part about it is nobody offers any type of solution…they basically guess at what they think could be happening and if that is the case then therapy should have worked or the epidurals should have helped. I’m just growing tired of not hearing anything of any use to me. And the next doc that says “take 4 ibuprofen” is going to get a bottle of it shoved up his ass. Ok, sorry for venting, thanks for the input…it’s more than 5 different doctors have told me so far.


My dad has THE worst back perhaps in the world. No, wait: The worst among those who actually function. Anyway, I’m not sure of his drugs, but I know he’s usually stacked: Tylenol 3, Valium, and numerous anti-inflam. including Vioxx, Celebrex, and a host of others (not at the same time of course :). I can’t provide any real recommendations though, sorry. He just takes so much crap, I can’t keep up with it. But, I do know this, when nothing else helps, he gets a steroid pack, usually Pretazone. It helps him within a few days. Oh yeah, 10 surgeries, a spinal fusion, diagnosed w/ degenerative disc disease- all in 14 years (40-54). Yet, a busy Baptist pastor! Go Dad!

If it looks like you are headed of surgery ask your doctor if he knows about Percutainous Discectomy (glad my life doesn?t depend on spelling that one right). Much less invasive if it will work for you, basically they use a rather large needle and suck out the herniation. Worth checking out and this is not a really new procedure. Never had any meds that worked for me.

I asked him about endoscopic discectomy, but he simply said “that’s not something I do” and that was the end of it.