Top 10 Low Back Pain Takeaways
Written by Mitchell Robinson
Back pain’s been in the media a bit lately. The Lancet (a prominent medical journal) published three massive and important papers authored by the world’s leading researchers discussing what we know about back pain to date including its prevalence and treatment. Please go and read these papers for yourself here: https://www.thelancet.com/series/low-back-pain
"Prudent use of medication, imaging (MRIs, x-rays, US etc.) and surgery is recommended."
- Lower Back Pain (LBP) is extremely common
- It affects millions, if not billions of people across the globe.
- LBP is often a normal part of life
- Sometimes a brief episode of LBP is just that, a brief episode!
- Persistent LBP is getting worse, despite advances in healthcare
- This is a hard pill to swallow, but the evidence is clear that there has been no significant decrease in LBP over time.
- LBP is grossly
- Some proposed reasons for LBPs prevalence include the routine use of low-value interventions (more on this below).
- Prudent use of medication, imaging (MRIs, x-rays, US etc.) and surgery
- Low-value treatments such as manipulations, acupuncture and dry needling, surgery, and injections are either not recommended or have very limited use in select patients.
- Most episodes aren’t serious
- However, red flags include numbness is the saddle area, bladder/bowel issues, loss of sexual function, gait disturbances, and extremely severe pain that cannot be improved.
- LBP is caused by a multitude of factors including physical, environmental, psychological and social.
- You are not your MRI – there’s more to your back pain than physical factors!
- Advice to rest and/or take time off work is normally not appropriate!
- Education and exercise are routine first-line treatments
- Education that supports self-management, reassurance, resumption of normal activities, decreased fear of movement and regular physical activity are appropriate.
- Most episodes of LBP are self-resolving, but if you’re in pain and want to see a therapist who knows the evidence, look no further than Sycamore Health.
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If you’re struggling with pain and think you would benefit from seeing a physiotherapist for your pain management, talk to your GP. Sycamore Health has a speciality in pain management and non-medicated remedies, and would love to help you take control of your pain!
Foster, N. E., Anema, J. R., Cherkin, D., Chou, R., Cohen, S. P., Gross, D. P., . . . Woolf, A. Prevention and treatment of low back pain: evidence, challenges, and promising directions. The Lancet. doi: 10.1016/S0140-6736(18)30489-6