Dr Bill gives you the latest insight.

According to recent research, there was not any significant difference between the use of the painkillers / Non-Steroid Anti Inflammatory Drugs (NSAIDs) and a placebo.

NSAIDs for spinal pain has some effectiveness for spinal pain, “the difference in outcomes between the intervention and the placebo groups is not clinically important [1].”

One of the study’s authors, Associate professor Manuela Ferriera, has been quoted as saying, “They [NSAIDs] do reduce the level of pain, but only very slightly and arguably not of any clinical significance. If you consider the side effects, which are important, we argue that the benefit is not really worthwhile [2].” 

Put simply, the difference between the placebo group and the treatment group was only small. When considered alongside the possible side effects tied up with NSAID use, including the increased risk of gastrointestinal reactions, the decision to take NSAIDs like Ibuprofen is now a little less straight-forward. In fact, it raises the possibility that the drugs may be doing more harm than good. “Patients taking commonly used anti-inflammatory drugs are 2.5 times more likely to suffer from gastrointestinal problems such as stomach ulcers and bleeding [2].”

Gustavo Machado said “Millions of Australians are taking drugs that not only don’t work very well, they’re causing harm…We need treatments that will actually provide substantial relief of people’s symptoms [3].” He went on to say that a much stronger focus on preventing back pain was needed.

The study did not touch on the documented evidence that chiropractic care can be effective in back pain. However, there is a mounting body of evidence showing that this is indeed the case [5].


Check out my short Video to learn about some other alternatives to treating back pain

To Your Health,




[1] Machado GC, Maher CG, Ferreira PH, et al “Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs for spinal pain: a systematic review and meta-analysis,” Annals of the Rheumatic Diseases, Published Online First: 02 February 2017. doi: 10.1136/annrheumdis-2016-210597

[2] Taylor, A (2017), “Back pain medications do more harm than good, study finds,” Sydney Morning Herald, http://www.smh.com.au/national/health/back-pain-medications-do-more-harm-than-good-study-finds-20170202-gu3uhr.html retrieved 9 February 2017

[3] Scott, S, (2017), “Anti-inflammatory drugs ‘no better than placebo’ for back pain: study,” ABC News, http://www.abc.net.au/news/2017-02-03/anti-inflammatory-drugs-no-better-than-placebo-for-back-pain/8236470 retrieved 9 February 2017

[4] Machado, G and Ferreira, M (2017), “How to relieve back pain naturally,” Life Hacker, http://www.lifehacker.com.au/2017/02/how-to-alleviate-back-pain/ retrieved 9 February 2017

[5] Blanchette, M, Da Silva, B, Boruff, J, Harrison, P, Bussieres, A (2016), “Effectiveness and economic evaluation of chiropractic care for the treatment of low back pain: a systematic review of pragmatic studies,” PLoS One. 2016 Aug 3;11(8):e0160037. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0160037. eCollection 2016. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/27487116

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