Aspirin for back pain is a very traditional pharmacological therapy which was used for many years, but has since given way to more popular and powerful drugs. Aspirin is truly a wonderful drug, since it can be a literal lifesaver when used in certain circumstances. However, as a chronic pain therapy, aspirin demonstrates some truly negative characteristics that make it a poor choice for most patients.
Aspirin, chemically named acetylsalicylic acid, is one of the oldest modern drugs. It has historically been used to successfully treat various types of pain, inflammation and fever. Aspirin is classified as an NSAID and therefore demonstrates all the risk factors which have been proven to be associated with this type of drug.
This discussion focuses on using aspirin for back pain treatment for both acute and chronic presentations. We will briefly discuss the history of aspirin, as well as its benefits and risks for back pain sufferers.
History of Aspirin for Back Pain
Aspirin has been manufactured since 1853, but became a viable commercial product near the year 1900. Bayer was the first company to make and distribute the drug on a large scale and also the company that came up with the name Aspirin.
Aspirin enjoyed great success globally as an analgesic, anti-inflammation drug and fever reducer. In more modern times, it became a popular therapy for people at risk for certain types of heart attacks and strokes, since it thins the blood and prevents cells from clotting. Low dose aspirin became a daily therapy for countless millions of people at risk for aneurysm and myocardial infarction.
Now, aspirin remains a viable drug worldwide, but is mostly used in underdeveloped countries and by economically-challenged people. In more developed areas, aspirin has largely been replaced by a diversity of OTC and prescription strength pharmaceutical products, especially when it comes to treating back pain.
Benefits of Aspirin for Back Pain
Aspirin can certainly reduce the severity of many different types of pain, including back pain. Aspirin can also help to reduce inflammation that may be contributory towards symptoms, particularly in cases of acute soft tissue back injury.
Aspirin has a long history in healthcare, making it one of the more predictable back pain drugs. In essence, although there are risks to its use, these risks are well known and most people understand how to use the drug without putting themselves in inordinate danger.
Aspirin is an OTC drug, making it extremely easy to purchase anywhere in the world. It is also one of the least expensive of all drugs, making it ideal for patients who must purchase their medication out of pocket.
Aspirin also demonstrates other health benefits, such as reducing the risk of certain types of heart attacks and strokes. For patients who require blood thinning therapy, aspirin provides a proven method with minimal risks to consider for indicated conditions.
Risks of Aspirin for Chronic Pain
Aspirin is a drug and demonstrates some serious risk factors for some patients. All patients who use aspirin even occasionally should be knowledgeable about these risks in order to prevent potentially dire health issues and even death.
Aspirin demonstrates the usual risks of all NSAID drugs, including the risk of stomach and intestinal bleeding and ulcer formation. This risk is worsened when other drugs are used simultaneously, including the recreational use of alcohol.
Aspirin can cause organ damage over time and is known to accumulate in the liver, potentially causing serious problems.
Although low dose aspirin is used as a blood thinner, regular use ironically also increases the risk for certain types of heart attacks and strokes, while reducing others.
Finally, aspirin is not the most effective form of analgesic product and most back pain patients cite limited benefits from its use. We understand its application for acute presentations of muscular back pain involving trauma or overuse, but have a difficult time recommending it for virtually any other chronic back issue.