NSAIDs are effective for short-term relief of low-back pain

January 23, 2008

Non steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs; such as aspirin and ibuprofen) can help reduce symptoms of low back pain that doesn’t involve sciatica, a Cochrane Systematic Review has found.

Low back pain is a major health problem in western industrialised countries, but there is little conclusive evidence about the best ways to treat it. NSAIDs are the most frequently prescribed medication worldwide, and are commonly given to people with low back pain. The hope is that they will not only reduce pain symptoms, but also reduce any inflammation in the back that may be the cause of the pain.

To evaluate the effectiveness of these drugs, Cochrane Researchers considered data from 65 trials that met their inclusion criteria. These involved a total of 11,237 people. They found that:

- NSAIDs were more effective at reducing pain than placebos, although the effects were small and NSAIDs were associated with more adverse effects.

- Different types of NSAID appeared to be equally effective.

- Short-term use of selective COX-2 inhibitors had fewer (gastrointestinal) side effects than the other NSAIDs.

The researchers also compared the effects of NSAIDs and paracetamol, another drug used by people with low back pain. They concluded that NSAIDs and paracetamol were equally effective at relieving acute low back pain, but paracetamol had fewer side effects.

“Physicians and patients with acute low back pain therefore have a choice about whether to use a NSAID or paracetamol, and the decision should be driven by individual clinical circumstances,” says lead author Pepijn Roelofs who works in the Department of general Practice at Erasmus University Medical Centre, Rotterdam, Netherlands.

“Most of these results came from studies of people who did not have sciatica, so we now need studies that look at whether NSAIDs have a role in helping those people as well,” says Roelofs

Source: Wiley-Blackwell

Explore further: Pain relievers linked to higher risks of heart-related deaths among healthy people

Related Stories

Physical therapy is effective for management of low-back pain

February 25, 2009

A new review article published in the Journal of the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons should help convince many patients with low back pain to consider physical therapy as a first line of treatment for their condition, ...

New clinical guideline for low-back pain

October 2, 2007

A summary of evidence on the diagnosis and treatment of low-back pain has prompted the American Pain Society (ASP) and the American College of Physicians (ACP) to issue a new treatment guideline. The guideline is based on ...

Neuropathic pain: The sea provides a new hope of relief

August 5, 2009

A compound initially isolated from a soft coral (Capnella imbricata) collected at Green Island off Taiwan, could lead scientists to develop a new set of treatments for neuropathic pain - chronic pain that sometimes follows ...

Ibuprofen puts high risk cardiac patients at risk

April 5, 2007

Doctors who treat the painful condition of osteoarthritis in patients with increased cardiovascular risk need to be cautious. A team lead by researchers at Mount Sinai School of Medicine, are the first to study outcomes in ...

Recommended for you

How the finch changes its tune

August 3, 2015

Like top musicians, songbirds train from a young age to weed out errors and trim variability from their songs, ultimately becoming consistent and reliable performers. But as with human musicians, even the best are not machines. ...

Machine Translates Thoughts into Speech in Real Time

December 21, 2009

(PhysOrg.com) -- By implanting an electrode into the brain of a person with locked-in syndrome, scientists have demonstrated how to wirelessly transmit neural signals to a speech synthesizer. The "thought-to-speech" process ...

1 comment

Adjust slider to filter visible comments by rank

Display comments: newest first

not rated yet Jan 24, 2008
Try Phenocane, it is made from tumeric, works in 45 minutes and
is as good or better than any cox2 inhibitor, no know side effects

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.