More than three million Australians face serious health risks if they try to use Paracetamol painkillers for back pain, according to a new research paper.

Paracetamol could cause life-threatening complications such as serious liver damage if consumers take too many. However, it appeared to be ineffective in treating both back pain and osteoarthritis, according to the paper published in the British Medical Journal.

"Around three million Australians suffer lower back pain and it is really important that they seek treatment that is not only effective, but also safe," the Victorian President of the Chiropractors' Association of Australia, Dr Anthony Coxon said.

"At any given time more than 13% of Australians are estimated to be suffering from back problems, which can lead to headaches, restricted mobility and for a number of people, serious disability.

"People often pop pills as a quick fix for back and neck pain.  Recent research from the BMJ shows that Paracetamol, one of the most common over the counter drugs used worldwide, is not only ineffective in dealing with back pain - but in some cases may even be dangerous."

"Paracetamol is found in medications such as Panadol, many over the counter cold and flu drugs and also in some prescription medications.  A person taking a cocktail of these drugs may unknowingly being doing serious damage to their liver, and in rare cases even cause acute liver failure."

"It is important people read the fine print on their medications and discuss with their GP if they are concerned or unsure."

"Chiropractors encourage people to look at the cause of back and neck pain, and not just to cover the symptom with drugs.  While medication may be necessary for some people, improving the function of the spine will give better long term results."

"The Harvard Medical School, one of the world's leading health research institutions, recently published advice that chiropractic care may be helpful for back pain, migraine, neck pain and whiplash."

"Gentle chiropractic care, combined with appropriate exercise, healthy living and natural pain reliving approaches, will be effective for most people with back and neck pain, Dr Coxon said.

"Too many Australians try to just endure their back problems, because they are uncertain about how to get relief.

"Anyone with a back problem should consider visiting a chiropractor to discuss drug-free approaches that may be more effective in addressing the causes of their back pain."

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