Narcotics Don't Help Treat Back Pain

Studies Find Narcotics Are Not Appropriate To Treat Back Pain

A recent study has found that the drug Naproxen which is available over the counter and also as a prescription is just as effective as prescription painkillers like narcotics and muscle relaxants. When we say ‘just as effective’ we mean actually not effective. Neither options seem to work longterm although NSAIDS like advil, aleve and ibprofen may provide minor short-term relief. This is good news because there are much less serious side effects associated with naproxen than narcotics. However the study also revealed that both narcotics and naproxen are not effective in treating back pain and participants in the study improved more from education about the lower back than the drugs.

It’s important for us to know that prescription drugs like oxycodin, acetophinomen, Percoset, Amrix (a muscle relaxant) and Naprosyn (prescription strength naxproxen) are no more effective than general over the counter NSAID regimen. Truly there is no more medical therapy worth doing beyond these less harmful NSAIDS. Lead researcher, Dr. Benjamin Freedman from the Albert Einstein School of Medicine in New York says, “for those patients who have already optimized their NSAID regimen, there are no additional medical therapies available.” They found that many patients that came in to the hospital complaining of low back pain were already taking these NSAIDS.

If the strongest pain killers aren’t going to make back pain better, we are left with the question, “what is?” Well luckily studies are finding that yoga, meditation, education about pain management, anti-inflammatory diets and stretching are all ways to actually help manage chronic pain. Chronic pain is often emotionally based in a physical weakness in the body.

How do we know that painkillers are not helping? A recent study done with 300 patients who checked into the hospital for back pain concluded that prescription painkillers helped no more than over the counter NSAIDS and furthermore created more harmful side effects than benefits.

What are these harmful side effects? Well they are pretty severe. They range from heart attack, hormone imbalance and addiction to mention just a few. Drugs like oxycontin only work as a temporary bandaid but because they don’t get to the root of the pain, the pain is still there when they stupefying state of the drug wears off. People can’t operate motor vehicles and they often become nauseous or dizzy on prescription painkillers. Unfortunately people that take prescription painkillers often become addicted to these drugs which are amphetamines. They make the person feel euphoric and then make them crash emotionally so the person becomes highly addicted. It’s a very dangerous thing to consider doing!

This recent study reported by CBS news found that people’s pain wasn’t lessened anymore by these prescription drugs than by typical pain relievers such as Aleve, Ibuprofen and Advil. If you really feel the need to take something, why not choose the one without the life threatening and addictive side effects?

The recent report published in the Journal of the American Medical Association on October 20th gave some patients placebo, some patients only NSAIDS and some patients a combination of prescription pain killers and NSAIDS. The findings support other studies with similar results that these highly potent drugs are leaving patients with just as much pain as the over-the-counter pills.

So what is really happening in the body from a chemical standpoint? The prescription drugs reduce testosterone in both males and females. This can cause serious emotional swings. Furthermore, men often supplement to replace the testosterone, however testosterone supplements are very dangerous and cause heart attacks. Well that certainly doesn’t sound like an amicable solution does it?

What about using NSAIDS? Chemically these drugs are anti-inflammatory and thin the blood. This is not recommended as a long-term solution to chronic pain because of the long-term side effects on the heart and liver. NSAIDS are harsh on the stomach and not a desirable solution.

People are turning the corner when it comes to our perspectives on chronic pain and how we get to the root cause of it. When you look at the American diet it consists of acid forming foods like red meat, processed grains and alcohol (not to mention all the sugar beverages like soda). We have so many things in our diet causing inflammation in the body, it’s no wonder chronic back pain is such a widespread condition. Additionally the stress chemical cortisol is acidic and causes pain in the body as well from inflammation. Simply finding ways to lower your stress and calm your nervous system through deep breathing, meditation and daily exercise can make a huge difference in back pain. Furthermore, educating yourself about switching to an anti-inflammatory diet such as the one promoted by health guru Dr. Andrew Weil is one of the best ways to get to the root cause of your pain.

There are specific stretches that can help to reduce pressure in the lower back such as seated forward fold or standing forward fold. Also exercises to strengthen your core strength can help support your vertebrae so they are less likely to slip out of place. One of the culprits that onset back pain is a sedentary lifestyle which involves too much sitting. The next culprit is diet. When people are not eating a plant based healthy diet, they are opening themselves up to more than just back pain. They may develop diseases because their blood is full of toxins and their organs will struggle to remove toxins from their body. Finally, the mind body connection is one of the strongest things that influences back pain. When people are in a negative frame of mind, the nervous system puts the body in a state of fight or flight. The hormones that are secreted into the body create pain and it’s invaluable to study ways to keep your emotions and mind positive.

We hope you found this article informative and empowering. Hopefully it will lead you to make the decisions that will actually get to the root of your pain. Remember, just because a doctor writes you a prescription, it doesn’t mean that’s what you need. Doctors are not always good intentioned. They receive kickbacks from drug companies and this incentivises them to get people hooked on drugs instead of giving patients the tools to heal for good. It’s no secret that there is major corruption between big pharmaceutical drug companies and doctors. It is hard for the legal system to regulate this corruption and the more we can be informed about holistic health, the less we are prey to greed

Shannon Yrizarry

Shannon Yrizarry is a health and wellness professional who was healed from chronic back pain in 2003 after studying the mind-body connection. She went on to study the physical and mental benefits of yoga and now teaches classes and workshops in Southern California. She has also worked as an organic health consultant and writes about how to eat a clean whole foods diet incorporating gluten-free, raw, and dairy free options.