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Low Back Pain and Sciatica and Acetaminophen

Read more about Acetaminophen.


The most common brand-name of acetaminophen is the over-the-counter drug Tylenol. This can be used to mitigate the pain associated with mild to moderate back pain but, as with most medications, cannot cure low back pain and sciatica, and should be used only to lessen pain while other more curative treatments (like lifestyle changes of diet and exercise/stretching) are simultaneously being pursued.

Effect of Acetaminophen on Low Back Pain and Sciatica

Acetaminophen relieves pain through different biological mechanisms than NSAIDs, which are a commonly prescribed category of drugs for low back pain and sciatica. It can cause or exacerbate liver problems if recommended doses are exceeded. Acetaminophen is unlikely to cause side effects associated with other pain medications such as GI upset, fluid retention and constipation.

Side Effects and Warnings

#What are the precautions when taking this medicine?

• Avoid other sources of acetaminophen. An overdose may cause dangerous problems.

• Check medicines with healthcare provider. This medicine may not mix well with other medicines.

• Avoid or limit alcohol intake (includes wine, beer, and liquor) to less than 3 drinks a day. Drinking too much alcohol may increase the risk of liver disease.

• If you have PKU, talk with healthcare provider. Some products do contain phenylalanine.

• Be careful if you have G6PD deficiency. Anemia may occur.

• Tell healthcare provider if you are pregnant or plan on getting pregnant.

#What are some possible side effects of this medicine?

• Liver damage can rarely occur.

#Reasons to call healthcare provider immediately

• If you suspect an overdose, call your local poison control center or emergency department immediately.

• Signs of a life-threatening reaction. These include wheezing; chest tightness; fever; itching; bad cough; blue skin color; fits; or swelling of face, lips, tongue, or throat.

• Significant change in thinking clearly and logically.

• Severe belly pain.

• Severe nausea or vomiting.

• Yellow skin or eyes.

• Not able to eat.

• Feeling extremely tired or weak.

• Any rash.

• No improvement in condition or feeling worse.