Does Advil Make Lower Back Pain Worse?

Have you ever taken an Advil or another non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID) to treat severe back pain and found that it had little effect? Have you even found that Advil, which is a brand name for Ibuprofen, may make your lower back joint pain worse? If so, the research supports these outcomes among those with back pain.

It has been suggested that the anti-inflammatory action of NSAIDs like Advil can actually make back pain worse. However, pro-inflammatory activity such as exercise has been shown to relieve pain. Endogenous opioids such as endorphins are known to fight pain. These are natural brain chemicals that are produced during exercise and are known to enhance mood and reduce anxiety as well as alleviate pain.

In addition, research shows that drugs such as Advil are only as effective as a placebo. As such, NSAIDs do not offer any significant benefit and it is necessary to find ways for patients to stop taking such medication due to its potential risks.

There are numerous side effects that ibuprofen or Advil entails. The most common of these side effects includes the following.

  • Heartburn
  • Stomach pain
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Constipation or diarrhea

More serious side effects also occur from taking an excess of ibuprofen or taking it on a long-term basis such as blood clots, heart attacks, strokes, lowered kidney function, high blood pressure, and bleeding and ulcers in the stomach or intestines. There is also a risk of an allergic reaction and a very rare risk of liver failure after taking ibuprofen.

Most importantly, a comprehensive review has found that people who take ibuprofen such as Advil have seen little more benefit than a placebo for treating back pain. This finding is based on 35 peer-reviewed trials looking at NSAIDs for alleviating discomfort in the back.

The results showed that none of the drugs used for pain relief offered more than a mild benefit and the risks associated with painkillers such as Advil are too great. Essentially, any positive effect is small and is not considered clinically important.

The results also found that patients taking these drugs were 2.5 times more likely to suffer from severe side effects of gastrointestinal problems like stomach ulcers and bleeding.

Essentially, people with back pain should look toward other treatments instead of taking painkillers such as Advil. Chiropractic care is likely to pose better outcomes for patients with lower back pain and joint pain. Instead of taking Advil or another name brand ibuprofen, massage therapy and chiropractic treatments are recommended.

Why Pain Medicine May Not Work and What will Relieve Your Pain

One of the reasons why research may find that NSAIDs do not work on back pain is due to discomfort related to sciatica. This is a type of pain caused by herniated discs or nerve issues. Since sciatica is not inflammatory, painkillers like Advil will not work well to relieve that pain.

If your back pain also shoots down one or both of your legs, it is likely nerve-related issues. It is vital to have your back pain checked out by your doctor or chiropractor so that you will better understand whether NSAIDs can help you or whether you should choose a different type of treatment.

Usually, sciatica pain goes away after several weeks or several months. During this time, however, your doctor can prescribe you oral steroids or physical therapy. If your back pain is found to be inflammatory instead of due to a sciatica, NSAIDs may provide some relief but not much. It may also not work for everyone.

If you want to relieve your back pain, you may want to take part in some lifestyle interventions and chiropractic treatments. Physical activity has been found to help relieve back pain. Specifically, exercise routines that strengthen the core of your body have been found helpful. Taking part in Pilates, where your abdominal muscles and obliques as well as spinal muscles are strengthened, is recommended.

Stretching your body before and after exercise is also recommended because it will keep your muscles more flexible and reduce the risk of future injuries. Additionally, using heating pads or ice packs is thought to alleviate spinal pain as well.

Chronic back pain may be difficult to completely cure, but taking part in different remedies is expected to help people become more comfortable and feel more relief. Essentially, it is recommended to speak with a chiropractic professional and receive chiropractic care. Ready to get started? Call us today at 205-637-1363.

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