Prescribing anticonvulsants for back and neck pain has increased by 535 per cent in the last 10 years. Although the drugs—such as diazepam (Valium)—are supposed to control epilepsy and seizures, they can also help ease neuropathic (nerve) pain and are far stronger than most standard painkillers.
The practice goes against US and UK clinical guidelines to treat low back pain, such as non-drug approaches like osteopathy and massage, or the use of mild painkillers.
In a review of nine major studies, researchers from the University of Sydney concluded there's no evidence that anticonvulsants help ease low back pain. Worse, they cause a range of adverse reactions, from dizziness, nausea, tremors and fatigue.