Close Close
Mother and Baby

Paracetamol May Be No Better Than A Placebo For Back Pain

Pregnancy means paracetamol is pretty much your only pain relief option, but new research suggests it has little effect when it comes to back pain.

Paracemetal does not provide pain relief for lower back pain and is no better than a ‘dummy pill’, according to new research published in The Lancet.
A study of 1,650 people in Australia who had experienced back pain for six weeks or less, showed that paracetamol didn't reduce the intensity of the pain or make it easier to sleep

The patients were divided into three groups: A third received regular doses of paracetamol, a third took the drug as needed and a third were given a dummy pill (placebo) for one month.

The results showed that paracetamol did not reduce the intensity of the pain, nor did it improve sleep quality, and scientists found there was no difference in recovery time for all three groups  –  an average of 17 days.
Lead author Dr Christopher Williams, from the University of Sydney, says, ‘The results suggest we need to reconsider the universal recommendation to provide paracetamol as a first-line treatment. [for back pain].
Unlike headaches, toothaches and post-surgery discomfort, where paracetamol proved effective, researchers believe that the mechanisms behind lower back pain may differ to those in pain felt in other conditions.

As people in the trial recovered more quickly than those in some previous studies, the researchers suggest the reassurance provided during their trial may be more effective than medication.

About 26 million people suffer from lower back pain each year in the UK, and it remains a leading cause of disability worldwide, according to the BBC.
For pregnant women who rely on paracetamol for back pain relief, as ibruprofen is not advised, the new research is particularly worrysome.
‘As your uterus grows, your pelvic bone joints relax, which can also cause pain in your lower back,’ Midwife and author of My Mini Midwife Denyse Kirkby said.
She advises that comfortable shoes and good posture may help, but ‘regular, gentle exercise may relieve your backache and prevent it coming back, more than anything else.’
‘Strong muscles can take more stress before they become strained,' she added.
Do you suffer from lower back pain – and how to you ease it? Let us know below.

Related content:


No comments have been made yet.

Chinese Gender predictor
Chinese Gender Predictor

Is it a boy or a girl? Tell our tool the month you concieved and how old you are and find out! 

Nappy rash is painful for parents as well as for your baby
Nappy rash is painful for parents as well as for your baby

Read Dr Pixie's guide to learn how to deal with nappy rash

The Magic Sleepsuit
The secret to a quiet night’s sleep – The Magic Sleepsuit

If you’re little one is struggling to settle now they’ve outgrown the swaddling stage, this could be the answer to your sleep-deprived prayers!

Celebrating parenting's small wins
Celebrating parenting's small wins

As mums, we're constantly told to enjoy every moment; in reality, parenting can sometimes be challenging. That's where small wins come in...

Subscribe to Mother&Baby

Be the best mum you can be and let Mother & Baby guide you along the way. Each issue is jam packed with REAL advice from mums just like you. Subscribe today & get a free welcome gift!

Ovulation Calculator
Ovulation calculator
Trying for a baby? Work out when you're most fertile to increase your chances of getting pregnant with our easy-to-use ovulation calculator.
Pregnant woman
Due Date Calculator

When is your baby due? If you’re having trouble remembering dates and counting up the days on your fingers and toes, don’t worry – use our due date calculator.

Get M&B in your inbox!

Sign up to Mother&Baby today and get news and advice about your body and your baby straight to your inbox every week. 

Lemonade Money
It’s time to make sure your loved ones are protected

Every parent knows the importance of planning ahead; from the new school shoes, to your little one’s education, you want to fill their future with hopes and dreams. Yet are you one of the 80% of adults here in the UK that has no life cover?