Back pain affects pretty well everyone at some stage or another, and many people turn to painkillers as the first line of treatment. But is time the greatest healer?
Almost everyone gets back pain. It’s as inevitable as paying taxes and death. But at least you can take painkillers, right? Except that the American College of Physicians (ACP) has announced that drugs should no longer be the first line of treatment. Instead of reaching for paracetamol or ibuprofen, you should try treatment such as heat (superficial), massage or acupuncture. Codeine (with paracetamol) and the occasional diazepam are particularly frowned upon because they carry the risk of addiction.
Of course, times change: I remember patients with back pain regularly arriving by ambulance to be strapped on to beds with traction devices. Antidepressant drugs, just as antiquated a treatment, are now rejected by the ACP as being no more effective than placebos.