There have been a series of recent papers written by a team of leading researchers on lower back pain on Lancet.com. I highly recommend taking some time to read these 3 papers here.
Who has time to read stuffy white papers with a bunch of scientific jargon in it?
Well, good question. If you’re armed with updated information about pain which is so common to human existence, then you’d know how to deal with it. In the event of pain, the experience will be less stressful if you happen to know why and how it happens.
If you’re too busy to read them, I’ll be offering up a few summaries in the coming weeks.
Recent guidelines on preventing and treating LBP
Though scans, bed rest, medication, and surgery are still regularly suggested, they are passive approaches . National clinical guidelines do not advocate for medication as the first option for treatment. US guidelines advocate for conservative care initially such as exercise, physical and psychological therapies, acupuncture, massage, tai chi and yoga.
For early management of lower back pain, education of the nature of lower back pain, reassurance that it’s not a serious condition, that symptoms will get better over time, encouragement to stay active including work, and avoiding bed rest are promoted.
Even though these guidelines have been updated for the past few decades, primary care doctors continue to rely on imaging to explain why patient’s pain exists and prescribe opioids when it is has been concluded opioid prescription is not an effective long-term solution to pain.
There continues to be a gap between practice and the latest evidence but there’s hope especially since the media has mostly conveyed the right message to the public.