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Back Pain? Aspirin And Ibuprofen Don't Help, Scientists Say

By Christie Abagon , Feb 04, 2017 10:39 AM EST
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If you are one of those people who think that aspirin or ibuprofen can treat back pain, you're wrong, scientists say. A recent study shows these drugs only have a little more benefit than a placebo when it comes to back pain.

What's worse is that nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) double the chance of developing gastrointestinal bleeding, and might even cause increased chances of cardiovascular issues. This means that taking aspirin or ibuprofen for back pain may pose unnecessary risks.

Anti-Inflammatory Drugs Don't Give Much Relief To Back Pains

Associate Professor Manuela Ferreira from the George Institute for Global Health in Australia and her team analyzed 35 trials involving over 6,000 men and women, Men's Fitness said. They found out that nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs like ibuprofen or aspirin won't give much relief. Only one out of every six patients who take these drugs experience significant reduction in pain.

"Our results show that anti-inflammatory drugs only provide very limited short term pain relief," Ferreira said. She added that they do reduce pain, but only very slightly, and arguably not clinically significant at all. Ferreira also said that the drugs are effective for other conditions but for back pain, they believe that there is a bigger role for other treatments, The Guardian said.

Almost All Acute Back Pains Resolve Itself

Evidence-based medicine specialist and professor of public health at Bond University in Queensland, Australia, Professor Chris Del Mar said that patients want to hear doctors say "I'll give you some pills and we'll make you feel better," but the truth is 99.9 percent of acute back pain resolve itself.

But for those with ongoing pain though, just knowing that aspirin and ibuprofen don't really treat back pain will at least help avoid unnecessary risks. Doctors suggest talking to health experts, and sometimes, doing exercise can help too.

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