New Guidelines Issued For Treatment Of Lower Back Pain

CBS News (2/13, LaPook) reports on its website that the American College of Physicians released new guidelines that says “the first line of therapy” for chronic low back pain “should be non-drug treatments.”     The new guidelines recommend “heat wraps, massage, acupuncture and spinal manipulation” for pain lasting less than three months, and recommend treatments such as “stretching and strengthening exercises, tai chi, yoga, acupuncture, and mindfulness techniques” for pain lasting more than three months.
Newsday (NY) (2/13, Ricks) reports, “The new guidelines emphasize that opioid” pain medications “should be considered only as a last resort.”
The New York Times (2/13, A21, Kolata, Subscription Publication) reports that in its recommendations, the ACP “did not address surgery.” Instead, “its focus was on noninvasive treatment.” In addition, imaging “scans… for diagnosis are worse than useless for back pain patients, members of the group said in telephone interviews.” Scan “results can be misleading, showing what look like abnormalities that actually are not related to the pain.” The new guidelines (2/14) were published in the Annals of Internal Medicine.

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