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Posted on 02-05-2017

NSAIDs and Ibuprofen Have No Significant Effect on Back Pain

As a Baltimore Chiropractor that spends his clinical time treating patients with headaches, neck pain, and back pain, I have nearly 9 years worth of experience treating patients with back pain. Although as a chiropractor I can not and do not recommend the use of medication to treat mechanical lower back pain, I routinely discuss with patients the alternatives to medication for their acute lower back pain. We discuss stretches, exercise, moist heat, yoga, swimming, and of course, chiropractic manipulation therapy. Baltimore is a blue collar town with lots of my patients working in construction, as police officers, or in restaurants as back of the house staff. Routinely I am told by these patients that even though chiropractic care feels great on their necks and backs, they often have to depend on NSAIDs (non-steroidal anti inflammatory drugs) such as ibuprofen to get through a shift and make it through the day.

Recent research indicates that the NSAIDs and ibuprofen that they take just to get through the day offer little, if any, clinical pain relief for these patients. Research conducted by Professor Manuel Ferreira from the University of Sydney seem to suggest that not only do these drugs offer only very limited short term relief of pain that is "arguably not of any clinical significance" but "when you factor in the side effects which are very common, it becomes clear that these drugs are not the answer to providing pain relief to the man millions who suffer from this debilitating condition every year." You can read the article here.

In spite of this research, it will take time for clinical guidelines recommending NSAIDs to change. Currently guidelines recommend paracetamol, followed by NSAIDs, followed by opioids.

Given the risks associated with NSAID ingestion, such as stomach ulcers and bleeding, it is important to note that back pain sufferers have choices besides pills to help with back pain.

If you, or someone you know, is suffering from back pain and have been taking NSAIDs and you want to try a safer, non medicinal approach to back pain relief, please contact Mid-Atlantic Spinal Rehab & Chiropractic at (443) 842-5500. We will discuss what options are available for neck and back pain relief without the side effects. We would be happy to help!

Dr. Gulitz

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