A team lead by Dr Gustavo Machado of The George Institute for Global Health at the University of Sydney, Australia published a review of 13 studies of the use of paracetamol in the treatment of osteoarthritis of the hip or knee ( 10 studies) and three studies assessing the use of the painkiller in low back pain. After examining the pooled data these investigatory concluded that paracetamol was ineffective in either reducing patient disability or enhancing quality of life.

These patients were all classified as experiencing “chronic pain”, i.e lasting continously for more than 3 months and it is well recognized that as a condition becomes more chronic the efficiency of all pain killer use is reduced. Thus the use of all types of pain killers may be and probably is helpful in acute musculo-skeletal pain allowing patients to increase mobility and reduce weight gain due to immobility.

The way that this study has been reported in the media has produced some alarm and confusion. I am still of the opinion that careful short term use of all pain killers can be helpful in acute and sub-acute situations.