Feb. 2 (UPI) -- Researchers from The George Institute for Global Health in Australia have found that common anti-inflammatory drugs are not effective at treating back pain.
The study analyzed 35 clinical trials of more than 6,000 people with back pain and found that only one in six individuals treated with non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, or NSAIDs, had significant pain relief. The participants were from Australia, where 80 percent of residents are affected by back pain, according to researchers.
"Back pain is the leading cause of disability worldwide and is commonly managed by prescribing medicines such as anti-inflammatories," Manuela Ferreira, associate professor, senior research fellow at The George Institute and the Institute of Bone and Joint Research and lead author of the study, said in a press release.
"But our results show anti-inflammatory drugs actually only provide very limited short-term pain relief. They do reduce the level of pain, but only very slightly, and arguably not of any clinical significance."
NSAIDs have also been known to cause negative side effects such as stomach ulcers and bleeding.
"When you factor in the side effects which are very common, it becomes clear that these drugs are not the answer to providing pain relief to the many millions of Australians who suffer from the debilitating condition every year."
The study was published in the Annals of the Rheumatic Diseases.