Do Lidocaine Patches Actually Work for Lower Back Pain?

If you suffer from lower back pain, you’re not alone. In fact, it’s one of the most common types of pain experienced by adults. There are a number of treatments available to help manage the discomfort, including over-the-counter pain medications, physical therapy, and even surgery. However, one lesser-known option is the use of lidocaine patches.

Lidocaine is a medication that some doctors prescribe as a topical numbing agent. It’s often used during minor surgical procedures to numb the area being operated on. Lidocaine patches contain this medication and are applied directly to the skin over the affected area. The patches are designed to provide localized pain relief for several hours.

The question is, do lidocaine patches actually work for lower back pain? There’s some evidence to suggest that they might. However, like any treatment, they’re not a guaranteed solution for everyone. In this article, we’ll take a closer look at what lidocaine patches are, how they work, and what the research says about their effectiveness in relieving lower back pain.

What are Lidocaine Patches?


Lidocaine patches are a type of transdermal patch that contains a local anesthetic called lidocaine. These patches are used to alleviate various types of pain, including lower back pain. Lidocaine is a numbing agent that blocks the signals of pain from the affected area to the brain, thereby relieving pain and discomfort.

How Do Lidocaine Patches Work?

Lidocaine patches are applied to the skin and slowly release lidocaine into the affected area. The medication penetrates the skin and enters the bloodstream, where it travels to the affected area. Once in the area, lidocaine numbs the nerve endings and blocks pain signals from reaching the brain. This results in temporary relief from pain and discomfort.

Benefits of Lidocaine Patches

Lidocaine patches are often used as a first-line treatment for patients with lower back pain. They provide effective pain relief without the risk of addiction or other side effects associated with oral medications. Lidocaine patches are also convenient to use, as they can be worn discreetly under clothing and can be used on the go.

In addition, lidocaine patches have a low risk of side effects, making them a safer and more tolerable option for patients who cannot tolerate the side effects of other pain medications. The patches are also non-invasive, making them an ideal option for patients who may be hesitant to undergo more invasive treatments for pain relief.


Overall, lidocaine patches are a safe and effective way to relieve pain, including lower back pain. They work by blocking pain signals from the affected area, and they offer several benefits over other pain medications. If you are experiencing lower back pain, talk to your healthcare provider to see if lidocaine patches are the right treatment option for you.

The Science Behind Lidocaine Patches

Lidocaine Mechanism of Action

Lidocaine is a local anesthetic that works by blocking sodium channels in nerve cells. This prevents the nerves from sending pain signals to the brain, effectively numbing the area where the lidocaine is applied. Lidocaine is commonly used in medical procedures and is also available in topical preparations, such as patches.

Evidence for Lidocaine Patches in Lower Back Pain

Studies have demonstrated that lidocaine patches can be effective in managing lower back pain. A randomized controlled trial found that patients with chronic low back pain who used lidocaine patches experienced greater pain relief compared to patients who used a placebo patch. Another study showed that the relief provided by lidocaine patches was equivalent to that of oral pain medication for patients with chronic low back pain.

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Potential Side Effects

While lidocaine patches are generally considered safe, there are some potential side effects. These can include skin irritation or rash at the site of application, and in rare cases, anaphylaxis (a severe allergic reaction). In addition, lidocaine should not be used on broken or inflamed skin, or in patients with a history of a certain type of heart rhythm disorder.

Overall, the science behind lidocaine patches supports their use in managing lower back pain. However, as with any medication or treatment, it is important to discuss the risks and benefits with your healthcare provider before use.

How Effective are Lidocaine Patches for Lower Back Pain?

What are Lidocaine Patches?

Lidocaine patches are medicated patches that contain the anesthetic drug lidocaine. These patches are placed on the skin and work by blocking pain signals from nerves in the affected area. They are commonly used to treat localized pain, such as that resulting from shingles or other nerve-related conditions.

How Do Lidocaine Patches Work for Lower Back Pain?

Research has shown that lidocaine patches can be effective in reducing lower back pain. The patches work by numbing the skin and underlying tissues in the affected area, which can help to reduce pain and discomfort. Additionally, lidocaine may help to reduce inflammation in the area, which can further alleviate pain.

What is the Evidence for the Effectiveness of Lidocaine Patches for Lower Back Pain?

Several studies have investigated the effectiveness of lidocaine patches for lower back pain. A meta-analysis of these studies found that lidocaine patches were more effective than placebo patches in reducing pain intensity and improving overall function. Additionally, the patches were found to be well-tolerated by patients, with few side effects reported.


Overall, the evidence suggests that lidocaine patches can be an effective treatment option for lower back pain. However, as with any medication, it is important to discuss the use of lidocaine patches with a healthcare provider to determine if they are appropriate for your specific situation. Additionally, it is important to follow the instructions provided with the patches carefully to ensure their safe and effective use.

Lidocaine Patches vs. Other Forms of Pain Relief

Topical Analgesics

Lidocaine patches are a type of topical analgesic, meaning they are applied directly to the area of pain. Other topical analgesics include creams, gels, and sprays. One advantage of topical analgesics is that they act locally, providing pain relief without the side effects of systemic medications. However, some topical analgesics have a strong smell or may cause skin irritation.

Oral Medications

Oral medications such as nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) or opioids are also commonly used for lower back pain. These medications provide systemic pain relief and are effective for various types of pain. However, they can cause a range of side effects including stomach ulcers, drowsiness, and addiction.

Physical Therapy

Physical Therapy

Physical therapy is a non-medication approach to treating lower back pain. It involves exercises and stretches to improve range of motion and strengthen the muscles in the back. Physical therapy can be helpful in reducing pain and preventing future injuries. However, it can be time-consuming and may not provide immediate relief.


Overall, lidocaine patches are a safe and effective option for treating lower back pain. They provide targeted pain relief without the side effects of oral medications. However, they may not be effective for all types of pain. It’s important to consult with a healthcare professional to determine the best treatment approach for your individual needs.

Are there Any Side Effects or Risks of Using Lidocaine Patches?

Possible Side Effects of Lidocaine Patches

Lidocaine patches are generally safe to use, but like any medication, they can cause certain side effects. Some people may experience mild side effects such as itching, burning, or redness at the site of the patch. These side effects usually go away on their own after a few hours.

In rare cases, some people may experience more serious side effects such as allergic reactions, difficulty breathing, or swelling of the face, tongue, or throat. If you experience any of these symptoms, you should seek medical attention immediately.

Risks of Using Lidocaine Patches

While lidocaine patches are generally considered safe, there are a few risks associated with using them. Lidocaine can be absorbed into your bloodstream through the skin, so you should be aware of the recommended maximum dose and avoid using too many patches at once.

If you have liver disease, kidney disease, or other medical conditions, you should speak to your doctor before using lidocaine patches. They may not be safe for you to use, or you may need to use them with caution.

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It is also important to be aware of the potential for drug interactions when using lidocaine patches. If you are taking other medications, speak to your doctor or pharmacist before using lidocaine patches to ensure that there are no interactions that could cause harm.


Like any medication, lidocaine patches can cause side effects and come with certain risks. It is important to use them as directed and be aware of any potential interactions or complications. If you experience any unusual symptoms or side effects, you should speak to your doctor or seek medical attention immediately.

However, when used properly, lidocaine patches can be an effective treatment option for lower back pain. If you are considering using lidocaine patches for your back pain, speak to your doctor to determine if they are right for you.

Who Should Consider Using Lidocaine Patches for Lower Back Pain?

Individuals with Mild to Moderate Lower Back Pain

Lidocaine patches have been found to be effective in reducing pain levels for individuals with mild to moderate lower back pain. If you suffer from occasional back pain that is not severe, lidocaine patches may be a good option for you.

Those Who Cannot Tolerate Oral Pain Medication

Some individuals may experience negative side effects from oral pain medication or have conditions that prevent them from taking these medications. In these cases, lidocaine patches can be a good alternative for managing lower back pain.

People Who Need Targeted Pain Relief

Lidocaine patches can be applied directly to the source of back pain, providing targeted pain relief. This can be especially beneficial for those suffering from specific areas of pain in the lower back.

Individuals with Chronic Lower Back Pain

For those with chronic lower back pain, lidocaine patches can be a helpful addition to other pain management techniques. They can provide ongoing relief for daily pain management without the negative side effects associated with long-term oral pain medication use.

Those Looking for Non-Invasive Pain Relief

For individuals looking for non-invasive pain relief options, lidocaine patches can be a good choice. They do not require injections or invasive procedures and can be applied without disrupting daily activities.

In summary, individuals who suffer from mild to moderate lower back pain, cannot tolerate oral pain medication, need targeted pain relief, have chronic lower back pain, or are looking for non-invasive pain relief options should consider using lidocaine patches. As with any pain management option, it is important to consult with a healthcare professional before use.

How to Use Lidocaine Patches for Lower Back Pain

Step 1: Check the Instructions

Before using the lidocaine patches, carefully read the instructions on the packaging. Make sure you understand how to properly apply and wear the patch.

Step 2: Clean and Dry the Area

Clean the area where you will be applying the lidocaine patch with soap and water. Be sure to dry the area completely before applying the patch. Avoid using any creams, lotions, or oils on the site as this may affect the effectiveness of the patch.

Step 3: Apply the Patch

Peel off the protective backing of the lidocaine patch and apply the sticky side directly to the skin in the area of pain. Smooth out any wrinkles or bubbles, making sure the patch is completely flat on the skin.

Step 4: Use Only as Directed

Follow the instructions on the packaging for how long to leave the patch on. Lidocaine patches are typically worn for 12 hours at a time, with at least a 12-hour break between applications. Do not exceed the recommended dosage.

Step 5: Discard Used Patches Properly

After removing the patch, fold it in half with the sticky sides together and dispose of it in the trash. Do not flush used patches down the toilet or dispose of them in any other way.

Step 6: Watch for Side Effects

While lidocaine patches are generally safe when used as directed, some people may experience side effects such as skin irritation, itching, or rash. If you experience any unexpected side effects, discontinue use and contact your healthcare provider.

Step 7: Use in Combination with Other Treatments

Lidocaine patches can be used in combination with other treatments for lower back pain, such as physical therapy, stretching exercises, or oral medications. Talk to your healthcare provider about the best treatment plan for your specific needs.

The Cost of Lidocaine Patches: Are They Worth It?

What is the cost of Lidocaine patches?

Lidocaine patches can range in price from $10 to $50 per patch. The cost may vary depending on the brand, size, and amount of Lidocaine included in the patch. In some cases, insurance may cover the cost of Lidocaine patches.

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Do Lidocaine patches provide value for the cost?

The effectiveness of Lidocaine patches in reducing lower back pain has been studied and proven to be effective in some cases. However, it is important to consider how severe your pain is and if cheaper alternatives such as over-the-counter pain medication could suffice. If Lidocaine patches are deemed necessary, the cost may be worth it for the relief they provide.

How to find the best deal on Lidocaine patches

  • Shop around online or in-store to compare prices of different brands and sizes of Lidocaine patches
  • Check for any prescription discounts or coupons from your insurance provider or the manufacturer
  • Consider purchasing Lidocaine patches in bulk if using on a regular basis to save money

Overall, while Lidocaine patches may be costly, the relief they provide from lower back pain may be worth the cost. It is important to weigh the severity of your pain and consider alternative options before making a purchase. By shopping around and finding the best deal possible, you can manage the cost of Lidocaine patches while still receiving the benefits they provide.

Questions and Answers:

Do lidocaine patches provide effective pain relief for lower back pain?

According to studies, lidocaine patches have been shown to provide significant pain relief for lower back pain in some patients. However, the level of effectiveness can vary depending on the severity and cause of the pain, as well as individual differences in response to lidocaine.

What are the potential side effects of using lidocaine patches for lower back pain?

Common side effects of lidocaine patches may include skin irritation or redness at the application site, dizziness, headache, and nausea. In rare cases, lidocaine can cause more serious side effects such as irregular heartbeat, confusion, seizures, or allergic reactions. It is important to discuss potential risks and benefits with a healthcare provider before using lidocaine patches.

Are lidocaine patches a long-term solution for chronic lower back pain?

Lidocaine patches are not a long-term solution for chronic lower back pain. They are typically used as a short-term adjunct to other pain management therapies, such as physical therapy or medication. For long-term pain relief, it is important to address the underlying cause of the pain through proper medical treatment and lifestyle changes to prevent recurrence of the pain.


Samantha Wilson

As someone who has suffered from lower back pain for years, I was intrigued by the idea of Lidocaine patches as a possible solution to my discomfort. After reading this article and doing some additional research, I am convinced that these patches could be a game changer for me. I appreciate that the article provided a balanced perspective, outlining the potential benefits of Lidocaine patches while also acknowledging that they may not work for everyone. I also found the section on safety to be particularly informative. Overall, I am excited to give Lidocaine patches a try and hopeful that they will provide some relief for my chronic back pain.

John Smith

As someone who suffers from chronic lower back pain, I was very interested to read this article about the effectiveness of lidocaine patches. While I have used some types of patches before, I was curious to see if lidocaine might offer more relief. Overall, I found the article to be informative and balanced. It was good to see a discussion of the potential risks and side effects of lidocaine, as well as the limitations of the available research. It’s always important to weigh the potential benefits of any treatment against the possible downsides. For me personally, I think I might give lidocaine patches a try based on what I’ve read here. It’s encouraging to see that there is some evidence to support their use, and I like the idea of a non-invasive option like this. Of course, I’ll talk to my doctor before starting any new treatment. Thanks for the helpful article!

Jessica Davis

As someone who has suffered from lower back pain, I was curious to learn more about lidocaine patches and their effectiveness. The article presented a balanced view of the topic, citing both studies that support its use and those that suggest it may not be the best option for everyone. Personally, I have used lidocaine patches for my back pain and found them to be helpful in providing temporary relief. However, I also agree with the article’s point that it should not be the only treatment option, and that it’s important to address the underlying causes of the pain through exercise, proper posture, and other therapies. Overall, I appreciate the informative nature of the article, and would recommend it to anyone looking for guidance on managing lower back pain.