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Treating back pain with over the counter drugs

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MOUNT PLESANT, S.C. (WCIV)--Back pain is an all to familiar problem for millions of Americans.

But when is it appropriate to manage that pain with over the counter medications and when is it time to see a specialist or head to the emergency room?

Dr. Ellen Rhame from Southeastern Spine Institute stopped by the Lowcountry Live studios this week to help set us straight.

"Pain is going to affect everyone at some point in their lives," Rhame said. Whether it's a headache or back pain or something else and it's important to know how to go to the drug store and pick up a safe effective treatment."

For slight to moderate back pain Dr. Rhame recommends an over-the-counter anti-inflammatory containing naproxen, aspirin or ibuprofen like Advil, Aleve, Moltrin and others.

But managing pain with over the counter drugs comes with a word of warning.

"The important thing to remember is that taking too many of these medications can cause problems but taking the right amount can effectively relieve your pain.

"The key is to consult your doctor and follow the directions on the bottle," Dr. Rhame said.

Other homeopathic treatments include heating pads or creams like Capzasin.

When should you visit a doctor or an Emergency Room?

Dr. Rhame says if you are experiencing severe back pain that persists for several days or more and it won't respond to over the counter medications, its time to visit a doctor.


South Eastern Spine Institute specializes in pain management and treatment.


For more information or to schedule a consultation - call 866-SPINE-50 or visit

  • Jon Bruce

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