No Evidence Muscle Relaxers Ease Low Back Pain

No Evidence Muscle Relaxers Ease Low Back Pain

By Alan Mojes
Health Day correspondent

Friday, July 9, 2021 (Health Day News) – Tens of millions of Americans turn to muscle relaxers Low back pain The solution, a new Australian review, finds little evidence that such drugs actually work.

This is a deep dive conclusion to 31 prior investigations, which collectively included more than 6,500 back pain patients. Enrolled patients were treated with 18 different prescription muscle relaxants for low back pain.

But studies have suggested that muscle relaxers can ease Pain In the short term, “on average, the effect can be significant,” says study author James McAuley. “And most patients are unable to feel any difference in their pain Placebo, Or sugar pill. “

Another concern: Beyond their ineffectiveness, there is “an increased risk of side effects,” warns McAuley, director of the Center for Pain Impact with the School of Health Sciences at the University of New South Wales in Sydney.

Such side effects include dizziness, drowsiness, Headache And / or Nausea, In addition to the risk that patients will develop over the long term Addiction.

“As previous research has suggested that muscle relaxers reduce pain intensity, but the results are less certain when we include all the up-to-date research,” McAuley said.

One problem is that most of the research is “poorly done, which means we can’t be sure of the results,” McAuley said.

For example, no studies have explored the use of chronic muscle relaxants. This means that the Australian team can assess the effect of muscle relaxation only in two time frames: during the initial two weeks and from 3 to 13 weeks. In the first instance, they found little evidence of the benefits of nominal pain relief; In the second instance, they did not find any pain intensity or disability relief benefit.

Taking McAuley: “There is a clear need to improve how research is done on low back pain so that we understand better whether medications help people or not.

“Low back pain is very common. It is experienced by 7% of the global population at any one time. Most people, about 80%, have at least one episode of low back pain in their lives,” noted McAuley.

But because it is so difficult to distinguish the exact cause, there are many treatments – including NSAIDs, Opioids, Exercise Therapy and / or Counseling – Aim to control pain rather than treat it. McAuley said muscle relaxers – 30 million Americans in 2020 – will fall into that category.

While muscle relaxation does not provide treatment or pain relief, “there is a clear need to develop and test new effective and cost-effective treatments for people with low back pain,” he said.

In the meantime, McAuley says there is a move to reduce “de-medicalization.” Treating back pain medicine By adopting techniques that focus on alternatives to surgery or surgery.

For example, “we know that people with low back pain should avoid staying in bed” and they should try to stay active and continue with normal activities, including work.

“The latest attack should offer advice and education on people with low back pain,” McAuley added. “[And] If they do not have a serious condition and their lower back pain is likely to improve over time, they should be reassured whether they take medication or other treatment. “

He and his colleagues reported their findings in the July 7 issue BMJ.

“The problem is, there are many causes of back pain,” says Dr. Carlson, assistant professor of orthopedics at the William Beaumont School of Medicine at Oakland University in Rochester, Michigan Said Daniel Park.

So when it comes to treatment, Park emphasized that “not one size fits all” is a spine surgeon at Beaumont Hospital-Royal Oak.

Still, when it comes to park muscle relaxers, “there is probably a place for a short-term benefit to help patients manage chronic pain.”

For example, they suggest patients “Muscle tension By overdoing it, ”or those with a herniated disc, may benefit from the use of short-term muscle relaxants.

But patients with garden-variety back pain from a degenerative disc? Not much.

Regardless, Park noted that chronic pain relief is unlikely, regardless of the source of the problem.

“Long-term, treatment and core strengthening will be most beneficial,” said Park, adding that every effort should be made to identify the specific cause and reduce the risk of chronic condition, permanent damage and persistent illness.

More info

There is more to back pain US National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Strokes.

Sources: Department of Medicine, Department of Medicine, University of New South Wales, Sydney, Australia, Center for Pain Impact, School of Health Sciences, Director James McAuley and PhD, and Senior Research Scientist, Neuroscience Research, Randwick, Australia; Daniel Park, MD, Assistant Professor, Department of Orthopedics, University of Oakland William Beaumont School of Medicine and Spine Surgeon, Beaumont Hospital-Royal Oak, Unasource Surgery Center, Oakland Regional Hospital, Rochester, Mich .; BMJ, July 7, 2021

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