Should You Take Ibuprofen For Back Pain?

If you’re suffering with a flare up in your back, the first thing you may want to do is reach for the painkillers. Occasional use of ibuprofen, the key ingredient in Nurofen, may offer short-term relief, but relying on painkillers for persistent back pain will do more harm than good.

New research shows that regular use of painkillers is markedly ineffective when treating chronic back pain. Also, there is evidence that taking ibuprofen in high doses or on a long-term basis exacerbates blood clots and high blood pressure. NSAIDs (non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs) like ibuprofen are designed for very short term discomfort that is more mild than moderate in severity, so persistent use of them may cause you to develop a tolerance to its pain-reducing properties. 

Back pain can be caused by a variety of things, like muscle strain, nerve damage, trauma to joints, or sciatica. So while ibuprofen works by reducing hormones that cause pain and swelling in the body, they aren’t able to help with what’s causing the pain in the first place. The reason why pain happens to be acute (short-term) or chronic (long-term) varies from person to person, so it’s worth consulting a chiropractor, a physio or another healthcare professional for a personal diagnosis if you suffer from persistent discomfort, rather than relying on painkillers. 

Is ibuprofen good for any other conditions?

You can take an NSAID like ibuprofen for mild, infrequent headaches caused by exposure to loud noise, a hangover or eye strain. For other sprains and pulls, an ice pack may be better.

So when is the best time to take ibuprofen? 

It’s recommended to take them with food – ibuprofen on an empty stomach has been shown to raise acidity, causing heartburn and making existing digestive problems worse. It’s a good idea to take painkillers with water rather than caffeinated drinks like coffee or tea, as headaches are frequently caused by dehydration. 

In the case of back pain however, there is always an underlying cause that can be identified and treated by a professional. This will not only lessen the pain, but will prevent the problem from coming back and give you some indication of what your triggers might be. This is a far more effective way to improve back pain than regular use of painkillers. 

If you’re worried about back pain or any other aches and strains, book in for a check-up with us. We’re always happy to help. 

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