Does Paracetamol Provide Relief For Back Pain? Latest Research Says NO!
If you have ever suffered with a sore back, you will know that you will do almost anything to get relief for back pain. And that is fully understandable. Back pain can be a nagging annoyance at best, but it can also become debilitating very quickly.
So it's not surprising that most people turn to pain medication as their first line of treatment for back pain. The most widely used over-the-counter medicine for back pain in the world is paracetamol. But just how effective is it?
Well, it doesn't work at all according to a study published in highly regarded scientific journal The BMJ (British Medical Journal) in March 2015. BMJ 2015;350:h1225
'Paracetamol is ineffective in the treatment of low back pain and provides minimal short term benefit for people with osteoarthritis. These results support the reconsideration of recommendations to use paracetamol for patients with low back pain and osteoarthritis of the hip or knee in clinical practice guidelines.'
'evidence suggests that paracetamol is ineffective in reducing pain and disability or improving quality of life in patients with low back pain.'
You can read the full article here.
So if you have been taking paracetamol to get relief for back pain, then unfortunately it seems that it does not help. This is quite concerning as it is often recommended as the first treatment for back pain. It is even more troubling when you consider the prevalence of back pain, which is widely acknowledged as a leading cause of disability worldwide. The study also found that taking paracetamol has negligible benefits for knee and hip osteoarthritis.
But it gets even worse! The BMJ study also found that:
'Patients taking paracetamol are nearly four times more likely to have abnormal results on liver function tests compared with those taking oral placebo'.
That is, taking paracetamol quadruples your risk of developing abnormal liver function, or put bluntly, it poisons your liver!
Not only does taking paracetamol not have any benefit for your back pain, it can actually be very harmful. So there really is no point taking it. According to this study, it simply does not help and may actually be harmful.
Why Taking Any Pain Medication Is Not The Best Idea Anyway.
In fact the whole idea of taking painkillers does not make sense when you really think about it. Sure, there are times when you need to get relief for back pain. Sometimes you just need a break, particularly when the pain becomes unbearable, and the right meds are certainly effective at bringing some relief.
But it is important to understand that the pain is not the problem. It is just a signal from your body that something is wrong. You can think of it as being like a fire alarm going off, letting you know that there is a fire somewhere. When you take painkillers, it is essentially the same as turning off the alarm. But the fire is still burning!!
Pain is also there to let you know what you can and can't do. If you move a certain way, and it hurts, that is your body saying 'Don't do that, you are going to make it worse.' So by taking painkillers (ones that work, not like paracetamol!) you are effectively numbing your body so you can't feel that warning alarm.
Sure, you might be able to do more things and move easier, but you can also be doing more damage. This is a really important thing to be aware of! By numbing the pain you could be setting yourself up for more problems. So please be extra careful how you are moving about and doing things if you have had to rely on medication to ease back pain. The last thing you want to do is make it worse, so really watch yourself.
Of course the best thing is to get to the underlying issue that is causing the pain. Once you fix the problem, you don't get the pain! Check out this information on the real underlying cause of the majority of back pain.
If you have ongoing back pain, it is strongly advised that you seek professional advice. Just remember that taking paracetamol is not going to help. In fact, it could be harming you. You simply need to address the root cause to get lasting relief for back pain.
If you have any questions, or would like to share your own experience, please leave us a comment below.
Also, if you have found this article helpful, please support us and share so we can help more people! Thankyou.