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Pain Management

Better Results for Pain Management

Pain management is an important part of relieving your pain and avoiding surgery when possible.  Dr. McKalip will usually send you to a pain management doctor prior to surgery unless surgery is the better early option.  Treatments can include injections into inflamed spinal joints (facet injections), injections around nerves (epidural steroid injections) and injections at tender spots (trigger point injections).  Medications may be used to supplement the care. Once the pain is better controlled, physical therapy should be pursued to help strengthen the core muscles supporting your spine. Physical therapy can help with pain control through heat and massage and sometimes traction. Patients should not be given bed rest for more than 2-3 days and should be encouraged to move.

Better results for your back

We only refer you to the best pain management experts in the area for patients suffering from back, neck, and spine conditions include the use of anti-inflammatory medicines. Patients often respond to non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs and mild narcotics. Dr. McKalip rarely prescribes narcotic pain medication unless for a patient for which he has performed surgery.  Medrol dose packs (6 day) can be very useful, but should not be used frequently. Always discuss pain management medications with your surgeon and primary care physician. An article in eMedicine describes some of the concerns that patients who are suffering with back, neck, and spine conditions may want to be aware of—including what over-the-counter medications may be helpful.

We are excerpting an article about pain management from eMedicine, titled, “What Is Pain?”

Pain is an unpleasant sensation. Pain can be sharp or dull, burning or numbing, minor or major, acute or chronic. It can be a minor inconvenience or completely disabling.

Both the area of the injury and how the brain deals with signals from the area of pain affect the sensation. Generally, medications try either to stop the transmission of pain from the site of injury or to affect the brain directly.

The effects of pain medication are different for different people. Also, the tolerance of pain varies greatly from one person to another.

For this reason, one medication will not be right for everyone with the same injury. For example, some people are quite happy with an over-the-counter medication for an ankle sprain, while others will need a more powerful prescription pain reliever. The right pain medication depends on the person experiencing the pain, not on the condition that is causing the pain.

A common Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID) for pain is ibuprofen. Some NSAIDs available for purchase without a prescription in drug and grocery stores:


  • Aleve


  • Advil
  • Children’s Advil
  • Children’s Motrin
  • Excedrin IB
  • Midol 200
  • Motrin IB
  • Nuprin
  • Pamprin IB


  • Anacin
  • Ascriptin
  • Aspergum
  • Bayer Aspirin
  • Bayer Buffered Aspirin
  • Bayer Low Adult Strength
  • Bufferin
  • Ecotrin
  • Empirin
  • St Joseph Adult Chewable Aspirin


Many NSAID medications are available only with a prescription. These include the following:

fenoprofen (Nalfon)
flurbiprofen (Ansaid)
ketoprofen (Oruvail)
oxaprozin (Daypro)
diclofenac sodium (Voltaren, Voltaren-XR, Cataflam)
etodolac (Lodine)
indomethacin (Indocin, Indocin-SR)

Read more spine health tips