Ibuprofen ‘useless’ treatment for chronic back pain
Research suggests that nearly half of us will suffer back pain at some point in our lives. Most of us will reach for the ibuprofen but new research suggests that drugs like ibuprofen, known as NSAIDs, have little more than a placebo effect and could do more harm than good.
Researchers from the Institute for Global Health in Australia published the findings of a review carried out comparing patients’ pain when treated with a NSAID compared with a placebo.
The results showed that only 1 in 6 patients found relief from an NSAID and, even then, the relief was mild and short-term. Given that long-term use of NSAIDs can cause direct and indirect irritation of the gastrointestinal tract, the findings show that this type of drug is not effective in treating chronic or any other kind of back pain.
Professor Ferreira, Senior Research Fellow at The George Institute and at the Institute of Bone and Joint Research, said: “Back pain is the leading cause of disability worldwide and is commonly managed by prescribing medicines such as anti-inflammatories. But our results show anti-inflammatory drugs actually only provide very limited short term pain relief. They do reduce the level of pain, but only very slightly, and arguably not of any clinical significance.”
The best treatment for chronic back pain is prevention in the first place and keeping moving.
Maintain good posture– Always make sure you are standing or sitting properly. If you sit down for long periods of time at work, it is advisable to use a back support if you are suffering from back pain.
Exercise– Proper exercise not only loosens muscles and joints in the back, allowing more freedom, it also allows you to gain muscle which strengthens the back. Exercise will also help you to maintain a healthy weight which can help to prevent back injury.
Pick a good mattress– Many people are unaware that a poor quality mattress can lead to back pain. With so much of our time spent on a mattress, it is advisable that you replace it regularly.
Visit your GP– Your GP can give you a proper diagnosis together with suitable medication. They will also try to identify the root cause, which will prevent any further problems or aggravation.
Lifting/Carrying- You should always lift properly and with proper technique. Bend at your knees, use your leg muscles and always keep the weight close to your body. This can prevent any further injury.
Quit Smoking– No matter what the condition is, smoking can lead to back pain. Nicotine shrinks the blood vessels, meaning certain blood vessels cannot transport blood to soft tissue in the back.
Non-medical techniques– There are other options apart from medication, such as massage or yoga, both of which can help with muscle pain surrounding the joints. In certain circumstances a chiropractor may assist by making adjustments, although we advise enquiring with your GP about this technique first.
Avoid Twisting– Twisting your body should always be done with care, especially when lifting heavy objects.
Roberts Jackson Solicitors specialise in obtaining compensation for people who have suffered a back injury through work. This compensation can help sufferers make changes to their living environments or lifestyle that can ease their back pain.
If you would like to seek advice from one of our specialist advisors or to enquire about your eligibility for compensation for work related back pain, get in touch by filling in the enquiry box on the right of the page.