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Should you grab the ibuprofen when you get a twinge?


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A research study has recently come out, gaining a bit of attention in the media and on social media. It caught our eye because it is all about the effectiveness of ibuprofen in treating back pain. The results of the study showed that whilst ibuprofen is effective in the treatment of back pain, the difference between the drug group and the placebo group were not statistically significant. In simple terms this means that whilst those people taking Ibuprofen did improve overall, the improvement was not significantly greater than those taking a placebo, or sugar pill.

This has echoes of a similar study, which came out a few years ago about the effectiveness of Paracetamol in treating lower back pain. For a number of our patients, the only options they have been given before coming to see us are these two drugs.

Because you can buy both Paracetamol and Ibuprofen off the shelf in your local supermarket or corner shop, you may think that they are relatively harmless and have few side effects, but you would be wrong. Paracetamol caries a risk of liver damage, and Ibuprofen can cause a number of side effects including damage to the lining of the stomach and shortness of breath (alongside many others). The risk increases significantly when the recommended dose is exceeded.

The conclusion of the article included the quote “There is an urgent need to develop new drug therapies for this condition” which really got under our skin. As chiropractors we know that the majority of back pain and neck pain responds incredibly well to a combination of hands on treatment to improve function, a solid understanding of what is going on, a good diet and the right advice. It takes time and commitment, and it isn’t always easy, but with the right approach you can really take control of your pain and put yourself back in the driving seat.

If you would like to speak to one of our chiropractors about what drug free options are available to manage your pain, call 01225 862140 (Bradford on Avon) or 01380 729103 (Devizes) or simply use our online booking form to request a free 15 minute consultation. This enables you to come in and have a chat with a chiropractor to discuss our approach and how we might be able to help.