Mumsnet has not checked the qualifications of anyone posting here. If you have any medical concerns we suggest you consult your GP.

Best over the counter drugs for backpain?

(19 Posts)
Draylon Fri 06-May-16 14:00:01

I have a long-standing problem with backache, just a generally rickety back offset by 30 years as a front line HCP...

What would you recommend I take, other than ibuprofen, to try and ease it as it slowly recovers? Needs to be OTC as my GP's non-urgent waiting time is 6 weeks.

Draylon Fri 06-May-16 15:10:03

Anyone??! Argh!

Badders123 Fri 06-May-16 16:09:31

I take go codamol

Destinysdaughter Fri 06-May-16 16:15:14

Voltarol is good but TBH in the meantime I'd do some gentle back stretches or try massage or acupuncture.

Draylon Fri 06-May-16 16:43:08

Thanks, both! I have been doing some gentle stretches but I am seriously thinking of taking a week of work (3 days, PT). My back just never gets properly better, as an NHS HCP, you're always supposed to 'take one for the team' when it comes to hauling comatose 20 stone people on and off beds, 20+ times a day, there's never enough staff to do it safely, and my line manager, with her bad back and dodgy knee, always dumps me on the most physically demanding job while she takes the easier one 'because her back hurts'.

MountainDweller Sat 07-May-16 23:49:25

Voltarol or ibuprofen alternated with paracetamol and codeine.

Or nurofen plus (ibuprofen and codeine) alternated with paracetamol.

The ibuprofen or voltarel is important because of anti-Inflamatory action.

You could prob add in voltarel gel as well, as otc doses for ibuprofen/voltarel are less than prescription doses.

If 400mg ibuprofen doesn't work you could try 600mg which is a prescription dose, but be careful and always take with food as it can cause stomach problems including ulcers.

Please be careful at work! flowers

madamginger Sun 08-May-16 00:03:37

Volterol tablets are prescription only and only 1 nsaid, so either gel or tablets but not both.
I would go with co-codamol tablets and algesal gel, both from your local chemist.

Draylon Mon 09-May-16 08:12:10

Thanks, all. Been on the codamol, which has helped.

Made a bit of a momentous decision yesterday- that I'm not going back to work til this feels better. It won't be popularly received, but you only have one spine!

Destinysdaughter Mon 09-May-16 08:14:59

Good for you!

CuttedUpPear Mon 09-May-16 08:23:11

I hope you are doing Pilates to strengthen your core as well.
It's recommended by most HCPs these days as it actually WORKS to strengthen your back.
I have a slipped disc which can massively immobilise me but if I keep up with my Pilates I am protected and can continue with my work, which involves lifting.

Draylon Mon 09-May-16 10:06:30

I have a GP appt on Thursday to get the official paperwork, though, of course, if I really feel I'm well enough to do all aspects of my job by then, I'd go to work, but the fact that I can only move with the line of my shoulders twisted at about 15-20 degrees to the line of my hips perhaps indicates I will need a few days yet!

Luckily, my line manager was OK when I called this morning - I do wonder if they've twigged that if I were the bolshy type, I might have 'a case' against them for always making me do the heavy work (who happen to be the more complex patients) which is easily provable.

Re: Pilates, Pear, I agree. Currently I'm only doing the more simple moves (which are on the NHS website) but I know it's important to keep moving and to try and prevent recurrence. But I genuinely do worry about the long term effects on NHS provision as 30-40 years of wear and tear on 50-60 year old HCP's bodies comes home to roost. In my job, it's not uncommon for the 3 or 4 manual handling staff to be older than the patient they're moving! And at least one of my 8 strong team is off at any given moment with a shoulder, low back or knee injury. sad

Msdj Mon 09-May-16 10:29:09

Have you tried Actipatch? They are available from lloyds chemist. I am not sure how they work. Similar to a TENS machine I think without the pulsating. I have just got a seven days free trial and so far I am seeing some benefit. I have two slipped discs and SI dysfunction so I know a lot about back pain. Hope you soon get some relief

Draylon Mon 09-May-16 11:15:40

Thanks- that might be worth considering!

stopfuckingshoutingatme Tue 10-May-16 07:39:17

Co codamol X 2 and invuprofen 500mg X 1

Also try feminaz as it contains naproxen - which is the best X

MatildaTheCat Tue 10-May-16 12:20:04

Ask for a referral to Occ Health. They can make recommendations for workplace adaptations and also to physio. I agree that working in this environment becomes unsustainable after decades. Another point is that the lifting and handling sounds less than ideal. Does your ward have all the latest gizmos?

In your position I would take the time to recover and then start rehab to keep it well and strong. I would also consider working in a lighter environment.

stopfuckingshoutingatme Tue 10-May-16 13:47:10

just to add, recently I saw the kind of work that HCP have to do with manual handling and turning patients, there is NO way I could do it with my weak back. you need some help OP x

Draylon Tue 10-May-16 14:30:38

Thanks for the drug recommendations!

My back is gradually improving, though I find once that dose of cocodamol wears off, a slight 'wrong move' jags it. I also need to stop the cocodamol as this is Day 4 of it! And I am stretching when I can.

Occ Health is no more, at least, not in my Trust! It's Health4Work and they do everything except help their staff work. It has become a paperwork exercise, really (as has much of the NHS). "Was a referral made to H4W?" -"Yes"; "Good, job done". ("Was the employee able to access practical help to minimise or relieve the problem?" "Ha ha ha, have you seen the cuts to our budget? We tell the staff to go and see their GP"). Genuinely. There are no short cuts to get help to get you back into work. Last time my back 'went', about 6 months ago, my line manager told me she'd made a referral but that was the last I heard of it. Frankly, the paperwork, like much in the NHS, is only useable when you need a paper trail to prove something so you can sue. Which I have no intention of doing! Though I fear that a day might come where I have to prove that the job is crippling me...

Regarding MH equipment, ours is a tricky area. We do lateral transfers from (wide) bed to scanner couch maybe 20 times a day. Often there are only 3 of us as our other staff can't leave their patient and the pressure to crack on can be intense when you have 2 more beds waiting outside and -this is a big one- some your fellow staff may be 26-28 so a) have only been MH for 5-8 years and b), in a culture that tacitly supports 'good practice', thus no decades of 4-man pole and canvas lifts behind them!- who might tut and look skywards when you insist we wait til we're properly manned. Give them 25 more years...

We just don't have the staff or time (or equipment, or room to store it) to do hoist lifts, and, as it is, the legs of hoists don't go under the scanner couch so you have to do a risky 'swing-and-drop' to deposit the patient on the wrong end of the couch, then slide-sheet them towards the scanner end of the couch.

My 'did' my back this time with a chair-bound elderly person in their own wheelchair. She was short (5'2"), overweight (15-16 stone?) and with poor mobility, unable to pull up her own weight with a rotunda thus my colleague parked the chair sideways alongside the scan couch, and, standing next to her 'helped' her to stand, so she was sideways to the scan couch thus only needed a 90 degree swivel to sit on the couch (which has to be at about knee height). With help, the lady turned so her back was towards the couch, and sat down, being helped by my colleague on her side and me behind (so she didn't just tip straight backwards off my side of the couch onto the floor! It's happened!). I felt a bit of a strain 'breaking' her sit-down 'fall', the couch top being at knee height.

Anyway, wheelchair away, you now have to do 'the swivel'. The patient is now sitting on the side of the couch, legs dangling down. You raise the couch a bit to help your own back, whilst steadying the patient (the couch movement invariably makes them dizzy). My kind colleague offered to take the usually heavier top end, if I could 'grab her legs' during the swivel, which of course were still on the opposite side of the couch to me as I was still preventing a backwards lie-down (onto the floor!) and anyway, there'd be no room for my colleague and I with a small lady and the side of a CT scanner in a tight area. Unfortunately, she a) really had no strength so couldn't 'swing' her legs laterally onto the couch herself, and b) her legs were really oedematous thus very heavy.

My colleague began her swing, so I had no choice other than to lean right out over the couch and hoik my arm under these legs and guide/lift them onto the couch otherwise the lady would've been dangling half on, half off the couch with dangling, obviously painful legs. Thus I strained my back.

This sort of thing is a daily occurrence.

I would love to see an ad: 'Wanted, 2 burly bloke with common sense and empathy able to do the lion's share of MH in this HC area; pay: band 2 (standard porter's pay)- so the Band 5, 6 and 7 staff aren't injuring themselves and going off sick all the time'. BUT these days such an ad cannot specify gender or fitness and all ads have to be so generic so they can deploy anyone anywhere, even at a site 40 miles away (no travel expenses) and will take 6 months to go through HR, that no one would apply, esp not in the ££ area we're in.

Sorry about the long description but it's a real issue, the physical demands of these jobs.

stopfuckingshoutingatme Tue 10-May-16 14:37:26

bloody hell. well what do your managers want? (a) you off sick or (b) a slower job done with the right MH skills

honestly back pain makes me look at the world so differently, and your jon is hard physically

Draylon Tue 10-May-16 15:37:48

This issue is that there's no money; however, when I started this caper back in 1980, your Band 9 (superintendent) was 'on side' with the workers; they saw their job as facilitating you doing yours.

Nowadays, the bottom line in retaining your managerial job, definitely for any chance of promotion is 'Bring it in on budget, I don't care how'- at Band 7 level management.

Join the discussion

Join the discussion

Registering is free, easy, and means you can join in the discussion, get discounts, win prizes and lots more.

Register now