Opioids for a Herniated Disc
acetaminophen and codeine
||Tylenol with Codeine
|hydrocodone and acetaminophen
||Lortab, Norco, Vicodin
|oxycodone and aspirin
How It Works
Opioid medicines (narcotics) relieve
pain by altering how the brain perceives pain.
Why It Is Used
Opioids are usually used to treat
more severe pain that is poorly controlled after using other medicines.
Because these medicines can be addictive, they are usually prescribed for
a short period of time (1 to 2 weeks).
How Well It Works
Opioids are sometimes used to
relieve acute pain caused by a
herniated disc.1 Doctors who
specialize in treating pain in adults with degenerative conditions such as
spinal osteoarthritis believe that opioids can be a responsible choice for
treatment if pain is not relieved by other forms of treatment and you are
unable to engage in daily activities.
Side effects of opioids include:
See Drug Reference for a full list of side effects. (Drug
Reference is not available in all systems.)
What To Think About
Limit your use of opioids to less
than 2 weeks. Opioids are only meant for treating periods of extremely severe
pain and are not intended for use until the pain goes completely away.
You may become physically dependent on opioids if you take them
regularly. Physical dependence is not addiction, but rather a gradual change in
your body in response to the opioids. If you stop taking opioids abruptly, you
may develop nausea, sweating, chills, diarrhea, and shaking. These are symptoms
of withdrawal from the opioid. This physical dependence is not life-threatening
and can be avoided if the opioids are tapered off over a set period of time, as
prescribed by your doctor.
Complete the new medication information form (PDF)(What is a PDF document?) to help you understand this medication.
American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons and American
Academy of Pediatrics (2005). Lumbar herniated disk section of Spine. In LY
Griffin, ed., Essentials of Musculoskeletal Care, 3rd
ed., pp. 769-773. Rosemont, IL: American Academy of Orthopaedic