Drugs Should Be a Last Resort to Treat Acute Lower Back Pain
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
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
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.