Why Taking NSAIDs isn’t a Long-Term Solution for Your Back Pain

NSAIDs and back pain

If you’re taking NSAIDs around-the-clock for back pain, you’re not alone. There are many people with back pain who are doing the exact same thing.

Chronic back pain steals your life from you, because even the little things hurt too much. If simple tasks, like bending down to tie your shoelaces or putting on a sock, cause excruciating pain, NSAIDs may be the only thing that give you any relief.

Taking NSAIDs is okay for a while, but eventually you’ll need to transition to a pain management plan that doesn’t include relying on NSAIDs to live your life. That may be a scary thought at the moment, but in the long run taking NSAIDs isn’t an optimal solution for your long-term health.

Are you taking NSAIDs?

NSAID stands for non-steroidal anti-inflammation. Common over-the-counter NSAIDs include: aspirin, like Bayer or Bufferin; naproxen, like Aleve and ibuprofen, like Advil or Motrin. Prescription-strength NSAIDs include: celecoxibs, like Celebrex and diclofenacs, like Cambia, Cataflam, Voltaren-XR, Zipsor and Zorvolex.

Do you know the source of your pain? 

NSAIDs may ease your pain enough for you to be active, but they do not address your underlying back condition. For example, if you have a herniated disc, you will likely suffer muscle pain too, because your body is out of alignment. When your body is out of alignment, one side tends to overcompensate for the “weak” side in an effort ease your physical pain.

Taking NSAIDs may ease that muscle tension, which makes you feel better, giving you the illusion that your back is temporarily improved. However, the source of your back problems — your herniated disc — is not being remedied.

How much better do you really feel?

If you’ve taken NSAIDs and they only provide minimal relief, you could be dealing with nerve pain as opposed to discomfort from inflammation. Back pain due to age or arthritis will improve with NSAIDs, because the pain is stemming from inflammation.

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