Using ibuprofen to treat a bad back may increase the chances of long-term pain, research suggests.
A study that looked at half a million British adults found that those who used anti-inflammatory painkillers such as ibuprofen to treat a sore back had about a 70 per cent higher risk of developing long-term pain compared with those who had taken alternatives such as paracetamol.
The researchers suspect that anti-inflammatories dampen an aspect of the immune system that plays an important role in repairing damage.
“For many decades it’s been standard medical practice to treat pain with anti-inflammatory drugs. But we found that this short-term fix could lead to longer-term problems,” Professor Jeffrey Mogil, of McGill University in Canada, one of the senior authors, said.