Acetaminophen (Tylenol and generic) or nonsteroidal anti-inflammatories, such as ibuprofen (Advil and generic) or naproxen (Aleve and generic) are good first-choice drugs to treat lower-back pain. But NSAID prescription medication, such as diclofenac , could be considered if those aren't sufficient. Be wary of narcotic pain relievers—opioids such as hydrocodone (Vicodin and generic), oxycodone (Oxycontin and generic), oxycodone and aspirin (Percodan and generics), or oxycodone with acetaminophen (Percocet and generic) to treat your back pain. They are only moderately effective in treating long-term chronic pain , and their effectiveness can diminish over time. They have also not been studied sufficiently for long-term use.
Cortisone injections are extremely safe, but they do still have potential problems. If you are concerned about having a cortisone shot, talk with your doctor. While cortisone is a powerful treatment for many orthopedic conditions, there are usually other options that can also be tried. Many doctors will offer an injection as they are quick, easy, and most often effective. However, your doctor should also be able to offer other treatments for inflammation that may also be effective for those that cannot have, or don't want, a cortisone injection.