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Painkillers Don't Work And May Do More Harm

Update Date: Feb 03, 2017 08:50 AM EST

A new study claimed that no common painkillers are effective for back pain. It found that aspirin and ibuprofen were mostly useless and its benefits are minimal for treating back pain and can cause side effects. Only one in six patients treated with the non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug has achieved significant pain reduction.

The study was conducted by experts from The George Institute, at the University of Sydney, in Australia. Researchers said the study suggests urgent need to develop new therapies to treat back pain.

The team examined 35 trials involving more than 6,000 participants. Experts found that adult patients who took the pills were 2.5 times more likely to suffer from stomach ulcers, bleeding and other gastro-intestinal problems.

Lead researcher Manuela Ferreira said that back pain was the leading cause of disability worldwide. Doctors commonly manage the conditions by prescribing anti-inflammatory medicine.  

Back pain affects 80 percent of people during their lifetime. It is commonly caused by lifting heaving object or bending awkwardly.

According to Daily Mail a recent research also found that paracetamol is relatively ineffective and opioids provide very little benefit compare to placebo. Exercises have proven to be more effective than medication.

The study results showed the drugs only provide very limited short term pain relief. They do reduce pain level but very slightly and not of any clinical significance.

According to The Sun, back pain usually gets better within a few weeks or months. NHS said most people will not need to see a doctor or health worker.

The researchers said that treatments that will actually provide substantial relief are needed and that the focus should be on preventing back pain. Education and exercise programs have proven to substantially reduce the risk of developing back pain.

John Smith from the Proprietary Association of Great Britain, which represents drug manufacturers, said: "Anti-inflammatory painkillers, such as ibuprofen, are an effective and appropriately safe way to provide short-term relief from back pain, if used in accordance with the clear on-pack instructions and the patient information leaflet inside."

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