Ibuprofen is a relatively mild pain killer than can certainly be useful for easing the occasional headache or sore throat. However, many patients rely on ibuprofen not as an occasional aid, but as a daily treatment for chronic back pain. Unfortunately, ibuprofen does nothing to address the actual causes of back pain, which often include poor posture and herniated discs. Instead, it just masks the pain, and in many cases, ends up doing more harm than good in the long run. Here's a look at three good reasons not to rely on ibuprofen for long-term management of back pain.
Reason #1: It leaves you vulnerable to more serious injuries.
This happens often in athletes who take ibuprofen to mask injuries, and it can happen to people with back pain too. You take ibuprofen to numb your pain, and suddenly, you have no way to know whether you're overdoing it or not. Normally, your back would start to hurt when you're moving in such a way that may make your back injury worse. With the pain killers, however, your body does not tell you when to stop. You might twist the wrong way or walk too far, and not know until later (when the pain appears) that you made the problem worse.
Reason #2: The long-term side effects might be worse than back pain.
Ibuprofen can lead to a long list of side effects, and the more often you take it, the higher your risk of developing these side effects. Stomach bleeding, liver problems, and an increased risk of heart disease are the most concerning, but some patients also experience rashes, ringing in the ears, and blurry vision when using ibuprofen.
Reason #3: You might become dependent on the drug.
Ibuprofen is not psychologically or physically addictive. However, many individuals who take the drug on a regular basis find that they become dependent upon it. They find that they can no longer maintain their daily activities without taking the drug. Even if they experience side effects from the drug, they often keep taking it because they feel they're unable to function without the pain relief it delivers. As a result, the side effects become worse and their health deteriorates. They experience withdrawal effects like nausea, headache, and increased pain if they do stop taking the drug.
So, if you shouldn't pop ibuprofen to keep back pain at bay, what should you do? For many patients, visiting the chiropractor is the best way to alleviate back pain. Not only can a chiropractor (such as one from Reading Chiropractic) adjust your spine to alleviate your soreness, but he or she can also give you targeted lifestyle advice to eliminate the factors contributing to your back pain. This might include simple changes like sitting in a different kind of chair at work, or performing a set of exercises before bed. Unlike pain relievers, chiropractic care has no harsh side effects and won't make your pain worse.