Most of the time, these drugs are opioid analgesics. The patient is given a base dose and then this is increased until pain relief is obtained. Long-term use of opioid-based medications isn't advised. There is no term proof that long-term opioid analgesia improves function.
The most common use of this type of pharmacologic approach is for the patient with hyperacute low back pain. This is the person who can't move, straighten up, or even get in and out of bed. Immediate help is needed.
If improvement doesn't occur within the first week to 10 days, then a follow-up exam is warranted. The physician must re-evaluate the patient's presentation. Further testing and/or alternative treatment procedures may be required.