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Research Shows Tylenol May Not Be Answer For Back Pain

BOSTON (CBS) – Back pain is the second most common reason patients seek urgent medical attention and up to 84 percent of adults will have back pain at some point in their lives.

But a common over-the-counter painkiller often used to treat back pain may really no better than a dummy pill.

Australian researchers reviewed data from 13 studies and found that acetaminophen, the active ingredient in Tylenol, is no better at reducing back pain as a placebo, or a dummy pill, but acetaminophen is four times more likely to cause changes in liver function—a reminder that even Tylenol can have side effects and should not be taken without good reason.

So what can you do if you have back pain?

Many doctors will still recommend anti-inflammatory medications like ibuprofen or naproxen, but not everyone can take those painkillers.

There are some non-medication remedies that can help as well, like heat, massage, acupuncture, and physical therapy.

Back-strengthening exercises, once the pain has subsided, can help prevent the pain from coming back.

For some exercise suggestions visit the Mayo Clinic website.

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