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Don't say that Anti-inflammatory drugs don't work for ALL back pain

Don't say that Anti-inflammatory drugs don't work for ALL back pain

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It's annoying.

I do appreciate that news sites need to report news and new findings, and they need some twist with stories to keep people reading.

But I’m still annoyed.

Read this report on the respected abc.net (link).

The headline: “Anti-inflammatory drugs 'no better than placebo' for back pain: study”

The problem: Back pain is not one disease.

There are so many different aspects, so many different contributing factors that there has to be more detail provided to the public before such a sweeping statement.

We've previously written about the difference between mechanical vs inflammatory spinal disorders (read here).

Yes, these are big groups but the important thing for me to get across in this post is that of those people with chronic back pain, a percentage (estimated at around 5%) will have inflammatory back pain.

Think spondyloarthritis and the prototype disease in this group, ankylosing spondylitis.

For the people who have these sorts of diseases, anti-inflammatory drugs, NSAIDs and the related, Cox-2 inhibitors, make a big difference.

At least for the majority for a period of time. These medications reduce the chronic pain and stiffness, and allow people to do more of their activities in daily life with less discomfort.

And these diseases are already so poorly served by the lack of awareness in the community of their existence, with the average time to diagnosis being around a decade.

Broad brush statements such as the one I highlight are unhelpful.

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