Spinal care and exercise more effective than paracetamol for back pain and osteoarthritis

Researchers from the University of Sydney, St. Vincent's Hospital, the University of New South Wales (UNSW) and Concord Hospital in Sydney, funded by the National Health and Medical Research Council have recently published a paper in the prestigious British Medical Journal (BMJ).

In their systematic review of the literature they found that there is no evidence that paracetamol has a significant positive effect, compared to placebo, in relieving pain and disability in cases of acute lower back pain and was only minimally effective in osteoarthritis. 

Spokesperson Dr. Billy Chow, Chiropractor, from the Chiropractor's Association of Australia said "It is a positive reflection on Australia's health care system to take notice of this latest research which convincingly demonstrates the ineffectiveness of one of the nation's top-selling over the counter and prescribed drugs".

Paracetamol is frequently recommended as a first choice of pain killer because it has fewer side effects when compared with non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs such as nurofen and voltaren. But as many patients often report when they visit the chiropractor they have minimal effect when it comes to mechanical acute back pain. 

In some cases, patients with acute back pain will need to be offered stronger pain killers, and may even need to be hospitalised, but the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) recommends that people with persistent back pain and recurrent back pain should stay physically active to manage and improve their condition.  

Given that it is estimated that 10-15% of all consultations with a general practitioner are in regard to spinal pain and osteoarthritis Dr Chow from the Chiropractor's Association of Australia said that “the fact that a highly respected peer-reviewed journal of the global medical profession called for physical treatments to be the way forward to manage low back pain and osteoarthritis in a safe, drug free manner, laid a clear foundation for greater cooperation between medical practitioners and chiropractors to cross-refer in order to ensure patients received the best clinical outcomes at the lowest cost”.

At Shirley Rd Chiropractic we are well experienced in dealing with people suffering from acute and chronic low back pain as well as those suffering from osteoarthritis. We work closely with many GPs and Specialists in helping patients solve their spinal problems. Click here to continue reading some advice for those who are suffering back pain. Click here to read the full paper published in the BMJ.

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