Back pain is one of the most common reasons people seek medical care. Up to 84% of adults will experience back pain at some point in their lives. There are many potential causes of back pain, including muscle strains, injuries, arthritis, osteoporosis, and more. While back pain often resolves on its own within a few weeks, many people continue to have persistent or recurring pain. When over-the-counter medications and home remedies don’t provide adequate relief, prescription medications may be considered. One such medication used for moderate to moderately severe back pain is tramadol.
What is Tramadol?
Tramadol is an opioid pain medication that works in the brain and nervous system to decrease feelings of pain. Unlike other opioid medications like morphine or oxycodone, tramadol is a synthetic agent. This means it is man-made in a laboratory. Tramadol works by binding to opioid receptors in the body. These receptors are located in areas of the brain and spinal cord that perceive pain sensations. When tramadol activates these receptors, there is a decrease in pain signal transmission. This leads to the sensation of feeling less pain.
In addition to activating opioid receptors, tramadol also increases levels of certain neurotransmitters like serotonin and norepinephrine. These brain chemicals further inhibit pain signals. The dual-mechanisms of action of tramadol are what provide its effective analgesic or pain-relieving properties. Though chemically it is an opiate, tramadol is generally less potent than other agents in this drug class. The maximum daily dose is typically capped at 400 mg per day or less.
Using Tramadol for Back Pain Management
Many clinical studies have shown that tramadol can significantly reduce both acute and chronic back pain related to conditions like osteoarthritis, fibromyalgia, spinal disorders, injuries, and more. Researchers believe tramadol works just as well as nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) like ibuprofen or naproxen for alleviating back pain symptoms. Some studies even suggest tramadol works better than NSAIDs.
Compared with other potent opioid pain medications, tramadol has a better safety profile with less risk of developing drug tolerance, dependence, or addiction disorders. This makes tramadol an appealing option for many doctors and patients looking for effective analgesic effects without high abuse liability. Tramadol may provide middle ground pain relief for those not finding success with OTC meds and those wanting to avoid habit-forming narcotics.
Benefits of Using Tramadol for Back Pain
There are many potential benefits associated with using tramadol for back pain management. Some of these advantages include:
- Effectively reduces sensations of acute and chronic back pain
- Lasts around 4-6 hours offering consistent, long-lasting relief
- Rapid onset of action with tablets beginning to work within 60 minutes
- May be taken on as as-needed, short-term basis or daily for chronic pain
- Produces less constipation or GI issues than other opioid medications
- Associated with a lower addiction risk profile than other similar narcotics
- Fewer withdrawal symptoms if the medication needs to be discontinued
- Covered by most prescription insurance drug plans making it affordable
Research shows using tramadol for short-term situations, like recovering from injury or surgery, or long-term cases of chronic back pain are both appropriate uses validated by clinical data. By specifically targeting pain pathways, tramadol can bring significant relief allowing increased functionality and improved quality of life.
Downsides and Risks of Taking Tramadol
While tramadol confers therapeutic advantages for back pain patients, there are still some potential downsides and risks to consider before starting this prescription medication including:
- May cause side effects like nausea, headache, dizziness, fatigue, and more
- Has the potential to interact with other drugs and supplements
- Should be taken exactly as prescribed without adjustments
- Could possibly exacerbate breathing issues if taken in excess
- May be habit forming with long term use requiring dose tapering
- Is not recommended for those struggling with addiction disorders
- Can contribute to symptoms of depression or suicidal thinking
- Has been linked to rare cases of hypoglycemia
- Is not advised during pregnancy or breast feeding
To mitigate risks, tramadol should really only be taken under medical supervision. Doctors can monitor patients for side effects or complications. Tramadol might not be suited for everyone. Those taking antidepressants, pregnant women, people with addictive tendencies, and individuals with breathing impairments may not be good candidates.
Proper Dosage and Administration
Tramadol dosage depends on many patient factors including age, kidney and liver function, other medical conditions, drug interactions, genetics, and more. As such, dosage should be individualized on a patient-by-patient basis. The prescribing doctor will determine the most appropriate tramadol dose and schedule.
Some general tramadol dosage guidelines include:
● Adults Ages 17-75 years old: Starting dose is typically 50-100mg every 4 to 6 hours as needed for pain relief. Maximum dose per day is 400mg. buy tramadol online in wholesale price in USA.
● Geriatric Patients Over 75 years: Starting dose begins more conservatively at just 25mg every day. Doses are carefully increased by 25mg increments if tolerated. Highest daily dose is 300mg for elderly patients.
Tramadol immediate release tablets are taken as needed throughout the day. This allows pain control based on pain level intensity fluctuations. Long acting extended release tramadol is taken once daily and provides consistent coverage without peaks and valleys in effects.
For postoperative short-term pain, tramadol may be used around the clock on a fixed schedule, rather than on an as needed basis to prevent pain from getting out of control. After recovery, as needed usage would resume. Tramadol begins working very quickly with onset of pain relief within 60 minutes of ingestion. However maximum plasma concentrations take about 2 hours post oral dosing. Effects last roughly 4 to 6 hours per dose.
Tapering Off Tramadol
Those taking tramadol regularly for an extended time will need to gradually taper, rather than immediately stopping. This prevents tramadol withdrawal symptoms from developing. Doctors will create customized tapering plans with incremental reductions spaced out over weeks or longer. Quickly discontinuing tramadol is never recommended due to risks of drug cessation syndrome.
By slowly decreasing quantities, the brain and body have enough time to adapt to reductions in tramadol without destabilization. If withdrawal symptoms do emerge while tapering, the previous dosage may be temporarily reinstated before attempting further reductions. This minimizes complications. Close collaboration with prescribing doctors ensures safe discontinuation protocols.
When over the counter interventions fail to alleviate troubling back pain, tramadol may be an effective prescription alternative with high patient satisfaction rates. By specifically targeting pain pathways in the nervous system, tramadol can significantly reduce acute flare ups or chronic back pain symptoms allowing increased mobility and improved quality of life. While side effects are possible and risks like addiction or breathing problems do exist, tramadol has a better safety profile than most other potent pain medicines. Working closely with healthcare providers, being aware of general dosage guidelines, and properly tapering help optimize positive outcomes. For many back pain sufferers, tramadol offers a moderate potency choice balancing effectiveness with safety.