Two very common conventional treatments for acute lower back pain are naproxen (Aleve) and diazepam (Valium). Often, they are given together. The idea for giving them both is that each drug works in a different way. Naproxen is an NSAID drug that you can buy over the counter. It acts to decrease inflammation. Diazepam is a muscle relaxer. So, combining them makes sense. But is the combination really helpful? According to a study recently published in Annals of Emergency Medicine, it isn't.
For the study, the researchers divided 114 patients who had visited the ER because of lower back pain into two groups. One group got naproxen and diazepam. The other group got naproxen and a placebo. The researchers asked both groups to fill out the Roland Morris Disability Questionnaire a week after their ER visit. Here's what happened.
At the end of a week, 31.5% of the patients who received naproxen combined with diazepam still reported having moderate or severe lower back pain compared to only 21.8% of the patients in the group that only got the naproxen. After three months, the numbers dropped to 12% and 9%, respectively. The study strongly suggests that adding diazepam to the naproxen had no benefit at all.
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The good news is that acute lower back pain tends to improve with time if you just get some rest and avoid aggravating activities while your body heals. The bad news is that adding in diazepam is no help at all other than to over-medicate you. In fact, the study's lead author, Dr. Benjamin Friedman, said, "Millions of patients come to the ER every year seeking relief for back pain, which can be debilitating. Unfortunately, we have yet to come up with the silver bullet in pill form that helps them. If anything, we may be over-medicating these patients."
I agree — for the most part. The best thing for acute back pain (leaving aside a surgical emergency) is simply rest, hot and/or cold packs, and NSAIDs. However, when the pain persists, it's time to start thinking about Prolozone® therapy. I've written before about Prolozone. It's a safe and very effective treatment that uses oxygen in the form of ozone combined with vitamins and other natural substances to treat pain of any kind. And it works especially well for lower back pain. Ozone relieves pain and at the same time stimulates the body's healing mechanisms so that your body can regenerate itself and repair the damage. You can find a doctor trained in Prolozone at www.aaot.us.
Yours for better health,
Frank Shallenberger, MD