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by frogmin



Study finds that paracetamol does not help to relieve lower back pain, despite being commonly recommended

In this article we discuss a recent study that looked at how effective paracetamol is in relieving lower back pain. The study was carried out in Sydney and picked up quite a bit of attention.

So, you may be looking for answers to many of your lower back pain questions.

  • What relieves lower back pain?
  • Why do I have lower back pain?
  • Will lower back pain go away on it’s own?

These are all common questions asked by people who suffer from lower back pain. There is a lot of confusion in the wider community about why so many of us experience back pain and what can be done to relieve it. If you have ever asked these questions, we can provide some answers.

Do you want the good news first or the bad news first?


The bad news when it comes to lower back pain is that many of the commonly prescribed treatments may not be as effective as first thought.

This means that painkillers like paracetamol may do very little in aiding recovery or reducing pain. Additionally, stronger opioids like oxycodone and codeine do very little to help you recover from back pain yet come with serious side effects such as addiction and accidental overdose.

You only have to look at the Penington Institute’s Accidental Overdose Report to see just how much damage these legally prescribed medications are doing to our community. The report highlights some alarming statistics, including:

  • Australians are dying from overdose in increasing numbers
  • The increase in overdose deaths is linked to strong pharmaceutical painkillers, among others
  • The majority of accidental overdose and drug related deaths in Australia are from legal prescription drugs, not illicit drugs

Other traditional lower back pain treatments, such as invasive surgery and injections may also be doing more harm, as reported by The Guardian.


The good news is that many people do find the help they need and can recover from lower back pain. Let’s take a closer look at a study on the efficacy of paracetamol for acute low-back pain.

Of concern, the study opens with this comment:

“Regular paracetamol is the recommended first-line analgesic for acute low-back pain; however, no high-quality evidence supports this recommendation.”


  • The Australian study, published in the Lancet, found that the painkiller paracetamol was no better than a placebo at aiding recovery from or reducing lower back pain.


  • The Sydney study group consisted of 1,652 adults who had acute lower back pain. They had an average age of 45.
  • During the study, the participants were divided into those who were given paracetamol three times a day for four weeks, and those who were given a placebo (a placebo was given to deceive the recipient into thinking that it is was paracetamol).


The study reported in terms of time to recover, and this is what was found:

  • The paracetamol group took 17 days to recover
  • The placebo group took 16 days to recover

There was no real difference between the results!

Also, the painkillers provided no benefit in terms of relieving short-term pain, improving sleep or quality of life.


“Our findings suggest that regular or as-needed dosing with paracetamol does not affect recovery time compared with placebo in low-back pain, and question the universal endorsement of paracetamol in this patient group”.


A senior author of this study, associate professor Christine Lin of the George Institute for Global Health, commented that people with back pain would be better off avoiding bed rest, being as active as possible, applying hot or cold packs (depending on the type and location of the pain) and considering chiropractic care.

The findings of this study should make us think twice about popping another pill for lower back pain.

You have to weigh up the positives versus the negatives and make the right decision for you.

You have to ask yourself:

“If the drug is not doing what it’s prescribed to do, or you are worried about the long-term taking of medications, might you be better off with other options?”

Also, why would routinely popping a pill ever address the underlying possible causes of back pain? It won’t. For the types of back pain we commonly help with, the true cause needs to be addressed, and corrected. Otherwise you are only ever masking the symptoms.

Your symptoms are just the tip of the iceberg and we need to look deeper to find the cause. This will allow us to then provide you with better outcomes – isn’t that what you want?

Many people in our community are choosing a more natural approach to their health. This may include drug-free approaches to health and wellness and better lifestyle habits to avoid many of the health challenges we commonly face.

Chiropractors commonly help with lower back pain problems and we do this without the use of drugs or surgery. Contact The Back Clinic today to find out more about how we help with lower back pain and more.


Many people think that chiropractors only help lower back pain. While chiropractic may be a great option to address your lower back pain, there are also many other issues chiropractic can help you with!

Some common conditions that chiropractors may be able to help you with include:

  • Back pain
  • Neck pain
  • Hip pain
  • Joint pain
  • Headaches and migraine pains
  • A variety of sporting injuries
  • Sciatica and nerve pain
  • Poor posture
  • Help after car accidents
  • Back pain experienced when pregnant

To find out more about any of these health challenges and how The Back Clinic may help, contact our team today.