Low Back Pain is the top cause of disability globally, yet most people are getting the wrong treatments for it. A recent study by the Lancet, a renowned online medical journal, discovered that despite guidelines from top medical groups and recommendations, pain pills are predominantly prescribed to people with back pain instead of physical therapy and exercise which are known to provide better outcomes. Here are the main takeaways from the article:
- People with physically demanding jobs, physical and mental comorbidities, smokers, and obese individuals are at greatest risk of reporting low back pain
- Treatment varies widely around the world. Bed rest is most commonly prescribed in low-middle income countries whereas surgery and the use of dangerous drugs such as opioids are most commonly prescribed in high-income countries.
- Lower back pain is still recognised as a complex disorder and influenced by psychological, social, and biophysical factors
- Studies show the best treatments and outcomes result from: physical therapy, psychological counselling, stretching, massage and other non-invasive treatments. Rest rarely helps, all patients should be urged to stay active
- Prescription drugs should be used only as a last resort.
- Surgery only works in rare and particular cases. If incorrectly recommended, it can actually lead to further complications down the track.
Based on these findings, its fair to say that spinal health is moving towards a more conservative paradigm. Next time you have a bout of back pain, ensure that you have your spine properly assessed and seek multiple opinions so the most appropriate recommendations can be made for you.
Contact Hands on Health Care for a complete assessment of your body and spinal health.