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Back pain sufferers warned common medications could be doing more harm than good

A new study has found drugs commonly used to treat back pain are providing little benefit while exposing patients to dangerous side effects.

Just one in six patients who used non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, like Nurofen, saw relief and they were almost three times more likely to suffer gastrointestinal problems.

Researchers say the answer could lie with better education and more exercise is key, and sufferers need to change their mindset to incorporate more movement.

Professor Chris Maher said there were some worrying side effects including stomach ulcers, gastrointestinal bleeding. 

‘What we found was they have a very small effect, I guess they take the edge off pain but they are not miracle cures,’ he said.

‘The picture here is that you get a small effect of pain and you expose yourself to side effects.’

Click PLAY to hear The George Institute for Global Health director Professor Chris Maher: