Paracetamol is no faster at relieving back pain than a placebo, a study has found.
Researchers in Australia found patients who were given over the counter paracetamol to treat back pain responded as quickly as those given a useless substitute.
The study, published in the Lancet, analysed 1,652 people with acute low-back pain at 235 care centres in Sydney, Australia.
They randomly received one of three treatments, up to four weeks of paracetamol in regular doses, paracetamol as they needed it or a placebo.
Scientists urged doctors to look at whether paracetamol should be the first port of call for back pain sufferers.