Prescriptions of anti-inflammatories for pain ‘out of control’.

Avoid Drugs for back painA 2013 study suggests that despite the recent findings that nonsteroidal antiinflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) significantly increase the risk of heart attacks these drugs are still prescribed for chronic muscle and joint pain sufferers with heart disease and increased risk factors. The NSAIDs are drugs such as diclofenac, ibuprofen, mefenamic acid, naproxen, etoricoxib and celecoxib. Even short term use carry an increased risk.


European League Against Rheumatism (EULAR) Congress 2013. Abstract OP0203-PC. Presented June 14, 2013.

Jan Olsen comments:

As a chiropractor I obviously think that long term drug use for muscle, joint and back pain should be reserved for those people where other less harmful interventions has failed. Drugs very rarely cure a disease, they merely mask it.

A condition like arthritis is never cured but even without drugs you can often make it easier to live with. More natural approaches may include physical therapy such as chiropractic, acupuncture, life-style and diet changes, quitting smoking, supplementation etc. None of these are as convenient as popping a few pills but people often find that the benefits of a natural approach reach further than just pain relief – and with less risk.

Manipulative therapy has been shown to be more effective than NSAIDs in dealing with neck pain. You can read more here.

However, if natural approaches fail you may decide that the risks associated with the drugs are worth taking. Any treatment carries a risk of something going wrong; getting out of bed in the morning carries a risk as does staying in it. It is all about balancing risk against reward. It is about making an informed decision about your ‘quality of life’. You may choose that the increased risk of a future heart attack is worth taking if a drug enables you to enjoy your life now. Walk to the pub, play with your children or grandchildren, go on holiday etc. instead of struggling to make it to the bathroom.

Make an effort, get all the information available and choose what is right for you.

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