Muscle Relaxants, Opioids Offer No Benefit For Low Back Pain
Adjustable Beds with Therapeutic Mattress May Be Helpful in Addition to Medication for Low Back Pain Relief
Naproxen — a drug available over-the-counter and by prescription under the brand names Aleve, Naprelan, Naprosyn and Anaprox — appears to provide as much relief for low back pain as a narcotic painkiller or a muscle relaxant, a new study suggests.
When low back pain strikes, as it does for 31 million Americans every day, adjustable beds with therapeutic mattresses may help to temporarily relieve low back pain. You can read more about how an adjustable bed may help you at the end of this article but first, continue reading to learn more about this new study.
According to an article in HealthDay News, the study compared the use of prescription-strength naproxen (Naprosyn) alone to the use of naproxen with the narcotic painkiller oxycodone with acetaminophen (Percocet), or the muscle relaxant cyclobenzaprine (Amrix). Patients who took a combination of drugs fared no better than when they took naproxen alone, the researchers said.
“Acute low back pain is a frustrating condition,” said lead researcher Dr. Benjamin Friedman, an associate professor of emergency medicine at Montefiore Medical Center and Albert Einstein College of Medicine in New York City.
Many patients have already taken over-the-counter nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), such as naproxen (Aleve) or ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin), before they arrive in the emergency room, he said. Some people may have taken insufficient doses at incorrect intervals and could be advised to optimize their NSAID regimen, he said.
“But for those patients who have already optimized their NSAID regimen, there are no additional medical therapies available,” Friedman said. “We don’t have good medical treatment for acute low back pain,” he added. The report was published Oct. 20 in the Journal of the American Medical Association.
For the study, Friedman and colleagues randomly assigned just over 300 patients who came to an emergency room complaining of lower back pain to 10 days of treatment with one of three combinations. The combinations included 500 milligrams (mg) of naproxen plus a placebo pill; 500 mg of naproxen plus 5 mg of cyclobenzaprine; or 500 mg naproxen plus a pill containing 5 mg oxycodone and 325 mg acetaminophen.
All of the study participants were given a 10-minute education session on low back pain before leaving the hospital, the study authors noted. Adding the narcotics or muscle relaxants to naproxen therapy didn’t help pain or function any more than naproxen alone, Friedman said. “Nearly 50 percent of patients were still suffering one week later. Nearly 25 percent of the patients were still suffering three months later,” he said.
But regardless of the treatment, nearly two-thirds of patients had significantly less pain and better movement one week after starting treatment, the investigators found. HealthDay News interviewed Dr. Houman Danesh, director of integrative pain management in the department of anesthesiology-pain at Mount Sinai School of Medicine in New York City about the study. He said, “This is another study to add to the pile that says narcotics are not appropriate to treat back pain.” Although fewer doctors are prescribing narcotic painkillers for back pain, many still do, he said.
Danesh said that the side effects of narcotic painkillers outweigh the benefits. One side effect is addiction, but it’s not the only one, he explained. “We know that narcotics lower testosterone levels in both men and women,” Danesh said. For men, replacing testosterone with supplements can increase the risk of heart attack and death.
“In women, you have no idea of where or how to replace testosterone, so you are changing their biochemistry, which can make them more sensitive to pain,” he said. “Most back pain gets better on its own without anything,” Danesh said. Friedman agreed. “Don’t despair — passage of time will cure most low back pain,” he said.
“Some type of complementary therapy such as stretching, yoga, or massage may be more appropriate for many patients,” Friedman said. “The solution to lower back pain is not potent medication.”
Does your back pain cause you to have restless nights? Do you have trouble sleeping or relaxing when your back is acting up? You’re not alone. Most people in the United States will experience lower back pain at least once during their lives, and many Americans live with acute or chronic back pain year-round. In fact, 31 million Americans are experiencing lower back pain at any given time.
Did You Know?
- Half of all working Americans have back pain symptoms each year.
- Back pain is the second most common reason for visits to the doctor.
- Back pain is one of the most common reasons people miss work.
- Most cases of lower back pain can be linked to a general cause – such as muscle strain, injury or overuse – or can be attributed to a specific diagnosed condition of the spine.
- As many as 80% of the population will experience a back problem at some time in their lives.
Easy Rest has the best adjustable bed mattresses for back pain relief. Our state-of-the-art mattress helps pain sufferers attain and sustain the deep restorative sleep necessary for recuperation. An Easy Rest adjustable bed offers a fully supportive mattress for your body and allows you to adjust to any position to help you find a position that may temporarily minimize pain.
Doctors recommend back pain sufferers place a pillow under their knees and at the small of their back to alleviate symptoms. With an Easy Rest Bed you get the same support without the extra pillows. With the touch of a button on your remote control, you’ll find the perfect, pain-minimizing position to enjoy your favorite television show, a great novel or a restful night’s sleep.
For more information on Easy Rest’s line of best electric beds simply click on the orange “Request Information” button in the upper left corner of this page to download our free color catalog and Better Sleep Guide. Don’t wait, do it today. Your back just might thank you.