Is Meloxicam good for treating back pain?

meloxicam for back pain
Medically reviewed by Dr. Ola Tarabzuni

Key Takeaways

  • Meloxicam, similar to ibuprofen, is a non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID) that effectively treats pain and inflammation.
  • Meloxicam is approved to treat osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis (RA) and juvenile idiopathic arthritis (JIA). 
  • Meloxicam and ibuprofen have similar risks, such as stomach-related and heart problems. So, they should be taken at the lowest possible doses for the shortest time needed.
  • Meloxicam is typically taken once a day and requires a prescription.
  • FDA does not approve Meloxicam for back pain, but is still prescribed off-label to treat back or muscle pain.


Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) are widely prescribed to manage pain and inflammatory joint conditions, including arthritis. Ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin) and Meloxicam (Mobic) are examples of NSAIDs. Meloxicam for back pain is not commonly prescribed as it is used to treat pain and inflammation caused by arthritis. This article covers the effectiveness of Meloxicam, its dosages, and side effects and, ultimately, discusses the most pressing question you are interested in, ‘Is meloxicam good for back pain?’

How effective is Meloxicam for back pain?

Meloxicam is an NSAID that is used to combat pain and inflammation. It is available as Mobic and is typically used to treat arthritis. FDA does not approve Meloxicam for back spasms or Meloxicam for back pain, but it is still prescribed off-label in some cases. The recommendation states using the lowest effective dose in patients to avoid side effects. Mobic can be administered in the form of tablets, liquid, or capsules. The usual dose is 7.5 mg daily, and Meloxicam 7.5 mg for back pain may be prescribed to some patients. Additionally, Meloxicam is also used to treat mild to moderate pain and fever. Some medical conditions treated using NSAIDs include:

How does Meloxicam work for back pain?

Meloxicam for pulled muscle or Meloxicam for back pain reduces pain by decreasing the production of prostaglandins. Prostaglandins are chemicals involved in inflammation, especially within the body’s joints. Therefore, decreasing inflammation ultimately reduces pain. Other medicines from the same NSAID group, including Ibuprofen (Motrin), Nabumetone (Relafen) and Indomethacin (Indocin), work similarly. 

Are you looking for the best medicine for extreme back pain? Talk to our doctor!

How much Meloxicam should I take for back pain?

Although the FDA has only approved it for treating inflammation, swelling, stiffness, and joint pain associated with conditions such as rheumatoid arthritis, juvenile rheumatoid arthritis, and osteoarthritis, Meloxicam may also help relieve back pain.

Meloxicam is a strong painkiller, available only with a prescription. Although some NSAIDs, such as ibuprofen or naproxen, are available over the counter, Meloxicam is more potent and, hence, effective in treating chronic back pain

How long does it take for Meloxicam to work for back pain?

The time taken for noticeable pain relief depends on several factors. The dosage taken and the severity of the condition play a significant role. Some patients may get relief within a few weeks of initiating treatment. However, the full pain-relieving effects can take months as well.

How long can you safely stay on Meloxicam?

The duration that Meloxicam is prescribed depends on the intensity of the pain and your diagnosis. The usual recommendation is from one week up to a month. For chronic conditions such as arthritis, Meloxicam may be prescribed for a longer duration.

Is meloxicam better than ibuprofen for back pain?

Meloxicam is a much stronger drug than ibuprofen. Ibuprofen is also available over-the-counter and as a prescription drug, but Meloxicam is prescription-only. Both are NSAIDs, but the effects of Meloxicam are long-lasting, and the pain-relieving effects can last for up to 24 hours. Hence, Meloxicam for lower back pain is prescribed on its own and not in combination with other drugs. On the other hand, ibuprofen must be taken several times a day or with other medication for relief.

What are Meloxicam’s side effects?

Like other drugs, Meloxicam can potentially cause mild or severe side effects. The following list covers some of the more common side effects. Your physician or healthcare provider can tell you more about the side effects of Meloxicam and guide you on how to reduce them.

Common side effects

Mild side effects of Meloxicam include:

These side effects usually subside in a few days, but if they persist, talk with your doctor.

Some severe side effects

There are also some chances that serious side effects from Meloxicam can occur. If this is the case, seek immediate medical help.

Serious reported side effects of Meloxicam include:

  • serious skin reactions
  • severe allergic reaction
  • high blood pressure
  • high level of potassium in the blood
  • kidney damage
  • liver damage
  • boxed warnings: risk of digestive system problems and risk of heart problems 
Do you require a refill for Meloxicam? Talk to our doctor!

Consult a doctor

Meloxicam is prescribed to combat inflammatory conditions such as certain types of arthritis. If you want answers to questions such as ‘Can Meloxicam help with back pain?’ or ‘Is Meloxicam a painkiller or muscle relaxer?’ Connect with one of our doctors and discuss the best treatment options.

FAQs about Meloxicam for back pain

Is Meloxicam a painkiller or muscle relaxer?

Meloxicam is an NSAID that treats inflammation of the joints. Meloxicam is not classified as a muscle relaxant. Nonetheless, Meloxicam is an effective analgesic used off-label to treat back pain.

Which is better for lower back pain, Meloxicam or Celebrex?

Meloxicam, available as (Mobic) and celecoxib, known as(Celebrex) are prescription-only medications that help relieve pain and inflammation. They’re commonly used to treat conditions like rheumatoid arthritis and osteoarthritis. Meloxicam and Celebrex are more potent NSAIDs and have shown similar effectiveness in relieving pain.

Does Meloxicam help with pain or just inflammation?

Meloxicam comes under the class of Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs). By definition, and as the name indicates, these drugs help reduce inflammation and associated pain.

Is Meloxicam good for sciatic pain?

Studies have proved that ​​Meloxicam (7.5 mg or 15 mg) is effective in treating acute sciatic pain. Similar to other NSAIDs from the same class, Meloxicam helps reduce pain by decreasing inflammation. 

Your Doctors Online uses high-quality and trustworthy sources to ensure content accuracy and reliability. We rely on peer-reviewed studies, academic research institutions and medical associations to provide up-to-date and evidence-based information to the users.

  • Borghi, B., et al. “Long-lasting beneficial effects of periradicular injection of meloxicam for treating chronic low back pain and sciatica.” Minerva Anestesiol 79.4 (2013): 370-78.
  • Kuritzky, Louis, and George P. Samraj. “Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs in the treatment of low back pain.” Journal of pain research (2012): 579-590.
  • Bekker, Alex, Carolyn Kloepping, and Shemille Collingwood. “Meloxicam in the management of post-operative pain: Narrative review.” Journal of anaesthesiology, clinical pharmacology 34.4 (2018): 450.
  • Valat, Jean Pierre, et al. “A comparison of the efficacy and tolerability of meloxicam and diclofenac in the treatment of patients with osteoarthritis of the lumbar spine.” Inflammation Research 50 (2001): 30-34.

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