Tags: Chronic Pain | drugs | back | pain | ineffective | ibuprofen | Advil

Drugs for Back Pain Don't Work: Researchers

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By    |   Thursday, 02 Feb 2017 11:42 AM


Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDS) such as ibuprofen (Advil) are commonly used to cope with back pain, but research from The George Institute for Global Health found they offer little benefit but cause side effects.


Researchers analyzed the results of 35 trials and found that only 1 in 6 patients treated with the painkillers found any significant relief.


Previous studies had already discovered that acetaminophen (Tylenol), and opioids provided little benefit over placebo.


"Back pain is the leading cause of disability worldwide and is commonly managed by prescribing medicines such as anti-inflammatories," said lead author Manuela Ferreira.

"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."


When side effects are factored in, which Ferreira says are very common, it becomes obvious that drugs aren't the answer to easing back pain.


The researchers also found patients taking anti-inflammatories were 2.5 times more likely to develop gastro-intestinal problems such as stomach ulcers and bleeding.


An answer to chronic back pain could be osteopathic manipulative treatment (OMT). Last year, a study conducted at the University of North Texas Health Science Center found OMT reduced pain and improved function in patients suffering from chronic low back pain.


Researchers reported on two randomized double-blind trials of patients ages 21 to 69 to determine the effectiveness of OMT. Patients had at least a three-month history of low back pain, and participated in six OMT sessions over a period of eight weeks. They were assessed at week 12 using measures of pain and function.


The first study found that OMT helped patients recover from chronic low back pain. The second study found that those who had the greatest disability before the trial received the greatest benefits. Those who reported a baseline disability of 17 or greater on a scale of 24 experienced reduction in pain of at least 50 percent.


A survey conducted by the National Institutes of Health found that low back pain was the most common type of pain reported — 27 percent. Those with low back pain were three times more likely to report fair or poor health, and four times more likely to have severe psychological problems than those who didn't have low back pain.
 

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Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDS) such as ibuprofen (Advil) are commonly used to cope with back pain, but research from The George Institute for Global Health found they offer little benefit but cause side effects. Researchers analyzed the results of 35 trials...
drugs, back, pain, ineffective, ibuprofen, Advil
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Thursday, 02 Feb 2017 11:42 AM
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