August 21, 2014

Acetaminophen is Not for Back Pain

Articles by Dr. Erdman are for informational purposes, and are not to be taken as specific medical advice.

More breaking news has been released on the use of drugs to cover up back pain, specifically acetaminophen or brand names Tylenol and Vicodin.

Researchers from the University of Sydney in Australia have published a study in The Lancet showing acetaminophen to be no better than placebo when it comes to relieving back pain.

They studied over 1,650 patients averaging 45 years of age. All had low back pain and were randomly treated with three doses of acetaminophen daily (totaling 3990 mg’s), or given placebo pills. All patients had follow-ups with their doctors for three months. What did they find?

According to the study, there were no differences in the amount of time it took any of the patients involved to feel better. Actually, the placebo group average 16 days to feel better, and the drug group averaged 17 days.

The drug also appeared to have no effect on the patient’s pain level as compared to the placebo group. Besides showing no effect on easing discomfort, the study also found the drug was no help in improving sleep woes tied to back pain, nor did it improve the patients overall quality of life.

The research team said the findings call into question the belief that acetaminophen should be the first choice when treating back pain. Do ya think?

Fox News reports in their article that the researchers said, “Guidelines for treating people with acute low back pain recommend acetaminophen as a first choice pain killer, but until now, no rigorous studies have been done to show that the treatment actually works better than placebo.”

“This is the first study of its kind, so it’s tough to make a decision based on just one study”, said Dr. Michael Mizhiritsky, a rehabilitation specialist at Lenox Hill Hospital in New York. He said he would not stop recommending acetaminophen to his patients based on one study.

I have no problem with doctor’s not changing long proven protocol based on one study here or there. But my question is, “where did the protocol of giving acetaminophen as a first choice come from initially?” Who made the decision that it was a good first choice drug for back pain, and what was that based on? The researchers just admitted that this is a first ever study for acetaminophen and back pain, so where did the notion that it works start out?

Do you see where I’m going with that line of thought? How many of the things doctors tell us every day as fact been proven otherwise? Remember, every drug that has ever been recalled by the FDA from the market due to adverse reactions was once approved by that same FDA.

We’ve been told not to eat eggs and coconut oil because it clogs your arteries; we now know that advice was bogus. Vioxx was deemed a safe drug, but it turned out to be deadly. When do we believe what they tell us? How can you believe all the hype when it comes to selling more drugs?

There are previous studies that compare ibuprofen and acetaminophen in relation to treating low back pain. The results show that there is no difference! What can we infer? Well, if Tylenol is no better than placebo in this study and a previous study shows no difference between ibuprofen and acetaminophen, then you draw the conclusion.

Over the counter pain drugs are, at best, a mere cover of pain. At worst, they are dangerous to your kidneys and liver and cause hundreds of deaths per year from overdose and abuse. If they don’t work for back pain, why are you still taking them?

Try something with a scientific, proven track record for back pain, chiropractic and rehabilitation therapy. We know what we are doing, and it is proven to be of benefit!