Taking drugs for back pain is largely pointless, an overview of research has concluded.
Anti-inflammatory pills such as ibuprofen are widely used as a first choice for patients with lower back pain. However, scientists found that they made little difference and most people would not notice the effect. Paracetamol is also shown to be ineffective. Exercise is usually recommended instead, which for some patients could include Pilates.
Manuela Ferreira of the George Institute in Sydney, senior author of the study, said: “Back pain is the leading cause of disability worldwide and is commonly managed by prescribing medicines such as anti-inflammatories. Our results show anti-inflammatory drugs actually only provide very limited short-term pain relief. ”
What’s more the side effects are seriously debilitating, e.g bleeding and stomach ulcers.
He said: “Patients with back pain should consider an exercise programme to help them manage their condition, eg aerobic exercises, strengthening/stretching exercises, pilates, yoga, core-stability exercises.”
Why risk side-effects for no benefit? Try an exercise programme to mobilise and strengthen your back and core.
It is also important to remember that there is a difference between mechanical back pain and inflammatory back pain. Inflammatory back pain may respond well to pain killers.
Where possible we need to keep moving.
When injuries occur and we stop moving we feel as though we are protecting the injury. However, in some cases, if we don’t keep mobile the muscle and therefore muscles around the injury, begin to “fuzz” up; there becomes less ‘slip and slide’ between the muscles and this movement pattern becomes normal. The injury and pain does not repair. If we take pain killers the pain may disappear for a short time but the injury may remain…it’s just masked for a while. A wholistic view of the body may be relevant. Is the site of pain the issue or is the pain being referred?
Pilates is a movement method that aims to help balance the body as a whole by mobilising joints, lengthening and strengthening muscles creating harmony from within the structure of the body.
Think twice before popping your next pain killer!