If you suffer from low back pain, you may be very familiar with the challenges of treating it. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), you are not alone: they point out that 60% to 70% of adults will experience low back pain during their lifetime.
Experts from the Harvard Men’s Health Watch said pain control is essential, not only because it increases comfort, but also because it “keep you active, which helps you recover.” But not all pain management tools are created equal of. Studies have shown that when it comes to back pain, you should avoid a popular painkiller for the simple reason that it is ineffective in treatment. Read on to find out which pain relievers should be avoided, and more breaking news that may affect your over-the-counter treatment plan, and the FDA has issued a new warning about this over-the-counter pain reliever.
According to published in Australian Medical Journal Earlier this month, one pain reliever should be avoided when treating back pain: acetaminophen, also known as paracetamol. The study focused on the efficacy of acetaminophen in the treatment of various pains and concluded: “There is high-quality evidence that paracetamol is not effective in relieving acute low back pain.”
However, the study found that the drugSecond Effective treatment of various other diseases, including knee and hip osteoarthritis, craniotomy, tension-type headaches, etc. “There is ample evidence that acetaminophen can relieve headaches, toothaches, and post-operative pain, but its effectiveness for back pain is not well supported,” the Harvard Men’s Health Watch responded. For the latest health news delivered directly to your inbox, please sign up for our daily newsletter.
Experts say that instead of taking Tylenol or other acetaminophen-based drugs, it is better to use non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) to treat back pain and inflammation.
Like acetaminophen, which is classified as an analgesic, NSAIDs are available as over-the-counter and prescription drugs. “Inflammation is a contributing factor to most back and neck pain conditions, so reducing inflammation usually helps relieve pain,” said Kathy de Farah, PharmD (through spine health). “They can be used to solve short-term back, neck and muscle pain,” she added. For more information about OTC pain relief, if you take these 2 OTC drugs at the same time, your liver is at risk.
Although non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs are effective in treating chronic back pain, you may want to use them for more severe attacks. This is because long-term use may cause side effects over time, including increased risk of peptic ulcer disease, acute renal failure, and stroke/myocardial infarction. “In addition, long-term use of non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs can exacerbate many chronic diseases including heart failure and hypertension, and may interact with many drugs (such as warfarin, corticosteroids),” according to a 2010 publication in Medicine A study in the magazine. Long-term Care Yearbook.
de Falla pointed out that researchers also found evidence that for patients who take NSAIDs daily for several weeks or months, their effectiveness may decrease over time.
According to the Harvard Men’s Health Watch, there are some non-pharmacological interventions that can help you reduce your dependence on non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs to relieve pain. They recommend using cold compresses to soothe the back when the pain is the most severe, and warm compresses when the back pain is moderate to “relax the affected muscles and promote blood flow in the area.”
They also recommend staying active, stretching exercises and focusing on strengthening exercises to “train the muscles that support the spine.” They recommend consulting a physiotherapist for tips on safely performing this operation, as well as advice on keeping your back safe during daily activities. For more important medical news, if you take this over-the-counter medicine more than twice a week, please see your doctor.