CHICAGO, IL. April 24, 2008 -– Half of back pain sufferers reach for Advil or Aleve for relief, according to a poll conducted by, a leading Web site for those with back problems.

Pie chart showing results of the OTC poll

The poll, which ran on from March to April 2008, asked 899 consumers which over-the-counter (OTC) pain reliever they prefer for treating back pain or neck pain. The respondents were offered the choice of several brand name OTC pain relievers, and a write-in option.

Ibuprofen in general (Advil, Motrin and Nuprin combined) accounted for 39% of the responses. 26% of the respondents said Advil (ibuprofen) is their first choice for OTC pain relief, while 24% selected Aleve (naproxen). Tylenol (acetaminophen) was chosen by 11%, and aspirin was selected by 5%. “Other” accounted for 15% and responses ranged from various prescription drugs to no alternative specified.

Ibuprofen, naproxen and aspirin are all non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, commonly referred to as NSAIDs. Because most episodes of back pain have inflammation as a contributing factor, NSAIDs are frequently recommended by physicians as an effective treatment option because they work like aspirin by limiting the formation of inflammation, but have fewer gastrointestinal side effects (such as gastritis or ulcers) than aspirin.

“NSAIDs, like ibuprofen, are most often recommended for treating activity-related pain or discomfort (e.g. pain that follows sports, housework, shoveling snow, or other exertion), pain related to muscle strain in the low back, and neck stiffness related to muscle, ligament or tendon strains or damage,” said Dr. Stephen Hochschuler, an orthopedic spine surgeon at Texas Back Institute and a Medical Advisor for

Acetaminophen is not considered an NSAID because it does not impact inflammation, but works directly as a pain reliever, often in conjunction with anti-inflammatory medications.

More information about back pain, neck pain, and treatment options, like over-the-counter pain relievers, prescription medications, and surgical procedures, can be found on their Web site.

About is the leading resource for people with back pain and chronic pain, serving nearly 1 million visitors each month. Their strict editorial standards and medical review process have earned numerous awards for consumer health content excellence. publishes health and lifestyle articles about back pain, arthritis, osteoporosis, pain management, medications, surgery, fitness, depression, and insomnia. also features award-winning message boards and advice columns.

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