Besides surgery, many people believe that the best way to relieve back pain is taking medication. However, new studies suggest that painkillers should only be treated as a last resort to back pain relief.
According to the American College of Physicians (ACP), pills should only be prescribed after physical therapy treatments had failed. The respected organization issued new guidelines to doctors in the United States, informing them to cease the use of drugs as a first-line solution.
“Physicians should reassure their patients that acute and subacute low back pain usually improves over time regardless of treatment,” said ACP President Nitin Damle, M.D. in an article by the Herald Tribune. “Physicians should avoid prescribing unnecessary tests and costly and potentially harmful drugs, especially narcotics, for these patients.”
It appears that a growing body of evidence has demonstrated painkillers to be significantly ineffective against back pain, doing more harm than good. A few weeks ago, a study conducted by the University of Sydney reported that ibuprofen and other anti-inflammatory drugs resulted in a minimal reduction in discomfort. Paracetamol is both ineffective and highly dangerous.
What is the Preferred Treatment for Acute Lower Back Pain?
With a rate of 80% of people suffering from the issue at some point in their lives, back pain is one of the most common health conditions seen by doctors in the United States. The pain derives from either heavy lifting objects or bending awkwardly, and in most cases will go away within a few weeks.
However, half see a recurrence of the problem within a year. In other cases, back pain can last for years or come in waves.
According to recent studies, the only way to treat acute lower back pain is through stretching and exercises. Yoga and other similar exercises have proven to be effective in easing back pain.
Doctors should encourage their patients to get physical therapy instead of prescribing them pain meds. While there is no one size fits all solutions, guidelines which encourage a more flexible approach to treating back pain needs to be developed.