Got back pain? New recommendations suggest ditching the pills and considering alternative therapy instead, such as yoga, massage, acupuncture, heat, physical therapy or spinal manipulation.
The American College of Physicians (ACP), which published the new guidelines, points out that “in the majority of cases, low back pain will improve on it’s own over four weeks.”
“Given that most patients with acute or subacute low back pain improve over time regardless of treatment, clinicians and patients should select nonpharmacologic treatment with superficial heat massage, acupuncture, or spinal manipulation,” the American College of Physicians says in its new guidance.
For the initial pain, the group recommends heat wraps, massage and exercise.
Exercise, acupuncture, yoga, physical therapy and chiropractic therapy are shown to improve symptoms with little risk of harm, according to this new statement released Monday.
“Physicians should consider opioids as a last option for treatment and only in patients who have failed other therapies, as they are associated with substantial harms, including the risk of addiction or accidental overdose,” said Dr. Nitin Damle, president of the ACP.
“Doctors need to do a better job avoiding unnecessary (and expensive) tests and minimize the use of potentially dangerous meds such as opiates,” according to Dr. Michael Freedman of Evolve Direct Primary Care.
Dr. Freedman adds, “It is still important that a doctor checks for worrisome symptoms like fever, weight loss, loss of reflexes or leg weakness, etc.”
Alternative therapies in general are worth trying, said Houman Danesh, director of Integrative Pain Management at Mount Sinai Hospital in New York. “Overall, it’s a very safe thing to at least try. And if it works, you’ll know relatively soon for low back pain.”
There is not enough evidence to show whether antidepressants, benzodiazepines (drugs that include Valium), anti-seizure medications or opioids even help lower back pain, the ACP said. Further, expensive treatments such as ultrasound and TENS (transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation) do little or nothing to help, the ACP added.
If you develop lower back pain acutely and wish to see a physician, Evolve Medically is always happy to see you. They are proud to work closely with some of the areas best Chiropractors, Acupuncturist, Massage Therapists and Physical Therapist. Same day scheduling on-line here or call 844-322-4222. Or email them at firstname.lastname@example.org.