Is Valium Better Than Placebo for Acute Low Back Pain?

No, Valium is not better than placebo for acute low back pain. Valium does not appear to confer any advantage greater than that of placebo when it is taken along with naproxen for treating medical conditions like nontraumatic, nonradicular or acute low back ache. A lot of patients in US regularly have low back pain and usually form around 2.7 million annual visits to clinics. Patients who take emergency treatment for lower back pain often get equivalent benefit when they are being treated with naproxen and placebo than those who are being treated with naproxen and Valium. This is based on the results of double blind, randomized clinical trials that were published recently in Annals of Emergency medicine.

Study to establish if Valium is better than placebo for acute lower back pain

One study states that most of the medications do not actually help in treating lower back pain. A week after being discharged from the emergency room, patients noticed improvement in their lower back ache, irrespective of the type of treatment they took, whether it is naproxen and diazepam or naproxen and placebo. Within three months after visiting the emergency medical aid, many patients almost recovered regardless of the type of treatment these patients took.

The scientists involved in the study randomized 114 patients who visited the emergency room, having new onset lower back pain in two groups. Among the two groups, one was given treatment with a combination medication of naproxen, which is a non-prescription non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug, along with Diazepam. On the other hand, the other group was given treatment with a combination of naproxen and placebo. A week after getting treatment in the emergency room, the group that took Diazepam improved by about 11 points and so did the group in placebo.

Summary of the study

Another week later, about 31.5 patients of the Diazepam patients reported of having moderate to severe lower back ache whereas it was about 21.8% of patients in placebo. About three months later, 12 % of patients on Diazepam reported of having moderate or severe lower back pain, while only 9% of the placebo patients did. These differences are not significant both statistically and clinically.

About a million patients visit the emergency room seeking relief for lower back pain which can be debilitating. There is though no silver bullet in the form of a pill that can help the patients having lower back pain. Physicians should reassure the patients that acute and sub-acute lower back pain can improve over time regardless of whichever treatment they take. Patients with lower back pain need to follow their physician’s advice properly at all circumstances.