December 2, 2022

The only pain reliever you should never take for back pain


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If you suffer from lower back pain, you are probably all too familiar with the challenges of treating it. And according to the World Health Organization (WHO), you are not alone: ​​they point out that between 60 and 70% of adults will suffer from lower back pain in their lifetime.

Pain control is essential, according to experts at Harvard Men’s Health Watch, not only because it increases comfort, but also because it “keeps you active, which helps in your recovery.” But not all pain management tools are created equal. Studies suggest that there is a popular pain reliever that you should avoid when it comes to back pain for the simple reason that it is ineffective in treating it. Read on to find out which pain reliever to avoid and for other breaking news that could impact your OTC diet, the FDA has issued a new warning regarding this OTC pain reliever.

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According to a study published in The Australian Medical Journal Earlier this month, there is a pain reliever you should avoid when treating back pain: acetaminophen, also known as paracetamol. The study, which examined the effectiveness of acetaminophen in treating a variety of aches and pains, concluded: “There is high quality evidence that paracetamol is not effective in relieving acute low back pain.

However, the study found that the drug is effective in the treatment of a variety of other conditions including osteoarthritis of the knee and hip, craniotomy, tension headaches, etc. “There is good evidence that acetaminophen relieves headaches, toothaches and pain after surgery, but its effectiveness for back pain is less well documented,” echoes Harvard Men’s Health Watch. And for the latest health news delivered straight to your inbox, sign up for our daily newsletter.

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Instead of taking Tylenol or other acetaminophen medications, experts say you should use nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) to treat both back pain and inflammation instead.

Like acetaminophen, which is classified as a pain reliever, NSAIDs are available both over the counter and by prescription. “Inflammation is a contributing factor to most back and neck pain, so reducing inflammation often helps relieve pain,” explains Kathee de Falla, PharmD (via Spine Health). “They can be used to treat short-term back, neck and muscle pain,” she adds. And for more on over the counter pain relief, if you take these 2 over the counter medications together you are putting your liver at risk.

man with back pain and muscle pain
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While NSAIDs can be effective in treating chronic back pain, you may want to reserve them for more serious flare-ups. This is because long-term use may cause side effects over time, including an increased risk of peptic ulcer disease, acute kidney disease, and stroke / myocardial infarction. “In addition, chronic use of NSAIDs can exacerbate a number of chronic diseases, including heart failure and hypertension, and can interact with a number of drugs (eg, warfarin, corticosteroids)” , according to a 2010 study published in the medical journal. Annals of long-term care.

Researchers also found evidence to suggest that NSAIDs may become less effective over time for patients who take them daily for several weeks or months, notes Falla.

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According to Harvard Men’s Health Watch, there are non-pharmaceutical interventions that can help you reduce your reliance on NSAIDs for pain relief. They suggest soothing your back with a cold compress when the pain is most severe, and using a warm compress “to relax the affected muscles and improve blood flow to the area” when the back pain is moderate.

They also recommend staying active, stretching, and focusing on strengthening exercises to “build the muscles that support your spine.” They advise seeing a physiotherapist for advice on how to do this safely, as well as tips to protect your back during daily activities. And for more essential medical news, if you’re taking this over-the-counter medication more than twice a week, see a doctor.

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