When it comes to pain, I'm convinced that the right medication is the one that you believe will work-- anything from the latest designer drug to eye of newt. Fortunately, there are scientists working to bring more empirical evidence to the question. If you suffer from occasional lower back pain not attributed to arthritis or sciatica, recent study results as reported in Science Daily could save you some money.
Researchers recently reviewed the results of 65 studies encompassing more than 11,000 patients and found that good old acetaminophen (Tylenol et al) works just as well as the new non-steroidal anti-inflammatories (NSAIDs) such as naproxen (Aleve et al), ibuprofen or Celebrex for lower back pain. This is good news for those of us paying out of pocket for our meds, since acetaminophen is usually considerably cheaper.
It also has few side effects. NSAIDs have been implicated in elevated risk factors for those with cardiovascular or stomach problems. Eye of newt probably has some unfortunate side effects, as well. For the newt, for sure.