Acetaminophen does not relieve lower back pain says a new study
A common question asked by patients who have acute lower back pain is what can they take to get relief of their symptoms. Chiropractic is quite effective at reducing lower back pain however, patients want something they can use or take at home to make them more comfortable.
Acetaminophen is a common over the counter analgesic people take to get back pain relief. Unfortunately, a new study confirms that it is ineffective at relieving that type of pain. While our office suggests our pain pack which includes two products that are natural and effective, sometimes patients want to just go on their medicine cabinet for relief. Ice is also effective for lower back pain when used as directed, and can greatly reduce the pain of a lower back episode.
The NY Times recently explained the reasons this analgesic ineffective. Check out the article here
Acetaminophen No Better Than Placebo for Back PainBy NICHOLAS BAKALAR
About two-thirds of adults have lower back pain at some point in their lives, and most are told to take acetaminophen, sold under brand names like Tylenol and Panadol. Medical guidelines around the world recommend acetaminophen as a first-line treatment.
But there has never been much research to support the recommendation, and now a large, rigorous trial has found that acetaminophen works no better than a placebo.
“Our result illustrates the problems in relying on that indirect evidence when setting guidelines,” said Christopher M. Williams, a researcher at the George Institute for Global Health in Sydney and lead author of the new study, published Wednesday in The Lancet.
Dr. Williams and his colleagues randomly assigned 1,643 people with acute low back pain to one of three groups. The first was given two boxes: one “regular” box containing 500-milligram acetaminophen tablets, and a second “as-needed” box also containing acetaminophen.
The second group received a regular box of acetaminophen and an as-needed box containing a placebo. The third group received two boxes of placebos.
All participants were told to take six tablets every day from the regular box, and up to two tablets a day from the as-needed box for pain relief.
The three-month study found no differences among the groups in recovery time, pain, disability, function, symptom changes, sleep or quality of life. About three-quarters of the patients were satisfied with their treatment whether they received medicine, placebos or both.
Dr. Bart W. Koes, who wrote an editorial accompanying the paper, said that even though the study was large and methodologically sound, it was not necessarily the last word on the subject.