The British Medical Journal published the review of 13 clinical trials, which said that paracetamol did not improve quality of life or reduce disability. One of the findings of the review was also that the drug increases the risk of liver problems.
The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) and the NHS are currently reviewing their guidelines, which suggest prescribing paracetamol for acute low back pain and osteoarthritis. Back pain is a huge cause of disability in the UK and is thought to affect 26 million people each year. However, Gustavo Machado, one of the researchers involved in the study of data gathered from more than 5000 patients said: “Paracetamol is the most widely used over-the counter medicines for musculoskeletal conditions so it is critical that we review treatment recommendations in light of this new evidence.”
Dr Christian Mallen from Keele University suggests that other management options need to be considered so that drugs are not the “cornerstone” of managing the conditions. While paracetamol is mildly effective in treating osteoarthritis, other options such as exercise can be considered.
Another researcher commented that mobility is key in managing low back pain therefore ‘bed-rest’ should be avoided and preventative measures such as good posture should be encouraged.
Chiropractic care encompasses all of these management options and aims to keep you moving. Advice can be given to help you improve your posture and exercises are commonly used as part of a treatment plan.
If you have any concerns regarding taking paracetamol please visit your GP.