A new study has come out, reporting that participants taking nearly the maximum allowed dose of acetaminophen did not experience an improvement in their back pain, including sleep disturbances due to the discomfort. In fact, the group taking acetaminophen did marginally worse than the group taking the placebo.
So what now? They’re not advocating patients give up acetaminophen. But you should stop and ask yourself, is it working for you? Take the research and see if it applies to you—are you trying to treat back pain with acetaminophen? Is it working? If you don’t have an immediate answer—keep a three week journal and track your back pain a couple of times a day and before bed (and—especially—anytime you wake at night).
If you find it’s not working for you, you have a range of options. The first should always be treating the cause of the back pain. If there’s a major cause related to trauma or injury, talk to your doctor. But most people’s (really, Americans) back problems can be solved by tweaking little, everyday things.
Do you need a better chair at work (or maybe switch to a standing desk)? A better bed? Do you need to exercise your back muscles? Stretch your spine? Alternative specialists like chiropractors and acupressurists may be good sources for therapy, especially if your doctor can’t do more than write a prescription.
While you make small improvements, attack your symptoms:
-Yoga may help in two ways, stretching your back and improving posture (it will stick with you the more often you do it) and helping to calm your mind, which is another way to manage pain.
-Depending on the kind of back pain you have, try hot/cold treatment. (You can do this in the shower, or with back pads). You can also get it quickly with a swipe of Dakota Muscle Rub (or spray).
-Consider treating yourself to a massage.
-Try Body RLF. It’s natural support for aches and pains, and, in our experience, is great before bed.
Anyone feeling vindicated that acetaminophen really wasn’t working for them?