Dr. Michael Smith: Back pain is very common, but now one of the most common treatments for it is being called into question. Doctors often recommend acetaminophen, which is sold over the counter, when our backs act up. But researchers in Australia found that it didn’t work any better than dummy pills in helping people who had back pain for less than 2 weeks. Those taking acetaminophen did not get better faster. They also had the same amount of pain during the 3-month period.. Now, the study did not look at whether acetaminophen might help long-term back pain, though, so if you feel it’s helping and your doctor has given you the OK, of course, continue to take it. But next time your back gives you trouble, check in with your doctor to see which treatment would be best for you. For WebMD, I’m Dr. Michael Smith.