Paracetamol Has No Effect on Back Pain Study Says: Most Popular Remedy Gets a Blow

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By Indrani Bhattacharyya | July 25, 2014 10:36 AM EST

A back pain is mostly treated by prescribing and consuming Paracetamol.

Paracetamol comes across as the first-line treatment for GPs dealing with acute attacks of the most common form of back pain.

Reuters
Johnson & Johnson’s infant Tylenol is seen in an undated handout photo. Johnson & Johnson said it was recalling its entire U.S. supply of infant Tylenol after parents complained about problems with a new dosing system, the latest in a string of recalls for the healthcare giant.

Reports suggest that lower back pain affects at least two in five people at one point life and sufferers regularly pop up painkillers to remain mobile.

 But according to this latest study, it has no effect in treating lower back pain.

The report led by Dr Christopher Williams from Sydney University got published in The Lancet medical journal.

In the experimental set up, 1,652 people with acute lower back pain were studied in three groups.

One group received up to 3,990 mg per day, second group was given 4,000 mg and the third group was on a placebo or dummy pills.

It was found that the placebo group came up with an average recovery time of 16 days, a day faster when compared to other two groups. Paracetamol also seemed to have no effect on short-term pain levels, disability, function and quality of life.

 But the findings confirmed that paracetamol was effective in reducing the pain of tooth extraction and post-operative pain as well.

‘According to the report by Daily Mail, the results suggest we need to reconsider the universal recommendation to provide paracetamol as a first-line treatment for low back pain, although understanding why paracetamol works for other pain but not on low back pain would help direct future treatments. In view of the quick time frame in which participants in our trial improved compared with other cohorts, it would be interesting to see whether advice and reassurance, as provided in our trial, might be more effective than pharmacological strategies for acute low back pain,” Dr Christopher Williams was quoted saying.

Probably it is time to think twice before gulping down the next dose of Paracetamol for your back pain.

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(Photo: Reuters / MCNEIL CONSUMER HEALTHCARE/HANDOUT)
Johnson & Johnson’s infant Tylenol is seen in an undated handout photo. Johnson & Johnson said it was recalling its entire U.S. supply of infant Tylenol after parents complained about problems with a new dosing system, the latest in a string of recalls for the healthcare giant.
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