Pain reliever “hospitals use most” actually prolongs pain

For years, Johnson & Johnson’s marketing department promoted Tylenol as being “tough on pain.” And they proudly proclaimed it’s the pain reliever “hospitals use most.”

But a large, new study reports that acetaminophen–the generic form of Tylenol–is worse than placebo at relieving back pain. In fact, it actually prolongs back pain!

I write quite a bit about the dangers of Tylenol. In fact, if you go to my website and type “Tylenol” into the search box, you’ll find 21 current articles warning about all the dangerous side effects.

One reason I write so much about Tylenol is because many people mistakenly think it’s “safe” and “gentle.” (Clearly, all those marketing dollars have paid off for J&J–but the new study is going to take more than a “band-aid” to fix.)

This OTC painkiller lands between 55,000 and 80,000 men and women in the emergency room each year. And acetaminophen is actually the No. 1 cause of acute liver failure in the U.S. We’ve known about these serious safety issues for at least 25 to 30 years.

And now–thanks to this important, new study–we know acetaminophen isn’t even “tough” on pain, as promised. (Of course, 30 years and more went by without ever doing such a study.)

For the new study, researchers recruited 1,643 men and women with lower back pain–the most common cause of pain and disability in working-age Americans.

Researchers divided participants into three groups. The first group took six 500-mg acetaminophen pills daily for four weeks. (One tablet of Extra Strength Tylenol contains 500 mg of acetaminophen.) Plus, the participants could potentially take another two pills “as needed” for pain. (This dosage clearly put the patients into the danger zone for potentially suffering liver problems. But we covered that story before.)

The second group also took six 500-mg acetaminophen pills daily. But their “as-needed” pills were actually placebo sugar pills. The third group only took sugar pills.

The researchers found that people in both of the acetaminophen groups suffered for an average of 17 days before recovering from a bout of disabling back pain. But here’s the astounding part…

Patients who ONLY took sugar pills recovered in just 16 days.

You read that right–men and women who took the drug that’s supposedly “tough on pain” spent an extra day in pain. And the men and women who simply took sugar pills felt better faster! And if you’ve ever been laid up with back pain, you know the sooner you stop suffering and get “back” into the swing of things, the better.

It doesn’t surprise me that this artificial chemical actually delays healing because it may well interfere with natural, normal healing processes.

Ironically, universal medical practice guidelines scandalously call for this toxic, ineffective drug as a first-line treatment for lower back pain. You have to wonder where that idea came from. In fact, as the researchers of this new study point out, there has never been any good evidence to support using Tylenol for back pain–despite its shocking “universal” acceptance.

Nearly everyone experiences back pain at some point. After all, it’s an unavoidable consequence of walking upright. But you should never resort to using Tylenol for anything. And especially not for back pain.

If you suffer from lower back pain, you have many options. In fact, research shows spinal manual therapy (SMT)–administered by skilled chiropractors and physical therapists–is the most effective and cost-effective therapy for lower back pain. It’s safe and doesn’t have these dangerous side effects. Plus, it’s widely available. Best of all, it really works. And it works fast.

If you suffer from any type of pain, you should never resort to using Tylenol. You have many other safe, natural, and effective options. In fact, earlier this year, I told you about a dozen ways to avoid Tylenol.

And you can learn about even more natural pain-relieving alternatives in my special report, The Insider’s Ultimate Guide to PILL-FREE Pain Cures. If you don’t already own your own copy, you can purchase it on my website.


  1. “Efficacy of paracetamol for acute low-back pain: a double-blind, randomised controlled trial,” The Lancet, Early Online Publication, 24 July 2014