An Australian study has found that anti-inflammatory analgesics like ibuprofen have little impact on back pain, but patients are advised to take the medications.
They found that the anti-inflammatory drugs offered pain relief, but the effect was limited compared to the sugar pill placebos.
Meanwhile, those taking anti-inflammatory analgesics for one week were two and a half times more likely to develop gastrointestinal problems.
The associate professor of the musculoskeletal division of the Sydney School of Medicine, associate professor Manuela Ferreira, who was behind the study, said that back pain had no “quick fix”.
The medication might offer limited relief, but it would not solve the problem, he said.
Back pain affected 80 percent of the population for at least one day of their lives and 25 percent of the population on any given day. It also affected the children, Ferreira said.
“It’s the main reason for involuntary retirement … it’s a very big economic problem.”
Theories about the prevalence of back pain included that people sat or stayed too long and did not exercise or move enough.
“Our bodies were made to move, we have not been moving so much over time,” Ferreira said.
Australia spent about $ 5 billion a year on healthcare for back pain, he said.
In the early days, when the pain was most acute, in 90 percent of the cases the cause was benign – meaning that there was no serious condition behind the pain.
Staying active, such as a light stroll, might help. Bed rest may delay recovery.
“We know that resting in bed does not help, but actually aggravates the problem,” he said.
Chi Thai could reduce pain and improve the function of people with chronic back pain, by building the strength of the base, he said.
There was little research on the benefits of pilates and yoga, but moving the back could help.
“Come on, that’s my advice,” he said.
Dr. Ferreira warned those who regularly took anti-inflammatory analgesics to consult their doctor before stopping.