Lower Back Pain is the worst. It affects everything you do in your daily life. Simple acts like brushing your teeth, putting your clothes on, even sitting can be difficult. For so many Americans, the first step in resolving this pain is often the medicine cabinet. Its the quick fix that takes 5 seconds. They reach for the ibuprofen or a muscle relaxant.
However, new guidelines on how to deal with lower back pain have recently come out - and it's kinda huge. As a chiropractor myself, its huge. Its a shift in thinking really. The American College of Physicians (ACP), recommends avoiding pills and using other modalities such as massage, heat, acupuncture, exercise, yoga or physical therapy as the primary approach to patients with pain in the lower back that lasts less than 12 weeks' duration.
We all know that all Low Back Pain is not the Same. The ACP is talking specifically about pain that lasts less than 12 weeks in duration (approx 4 months). They emphasize that most cases of low back pain will go away on their own. Here are their new recommendations on how to treat this pain:
- Stay Active
- Light Stretching
- Be Patient
Let's add to this: Chiropractic, Acupuncture, Massage, Yoga are other great treatments that will treat this kind of lower back pain.For years and years Dr's have been overprescribing medications for mild cases of lower back pain.Not only are there dangerous long term side effects but drugs taken with other drugs can be deadly as well. "These important new guidelines will help clinicians better manage their patients with chronic pain and give them safer alternatives to use than opioids and NSAIDS," said Rich Able, partner and chief strategy officer at Intuitive IP, a life science company exploring targeted innovations to improve the lives of patients and delivery of healthcare. “ The overprescribing and over-reliance on opiates and NSAIDS has destroyed millions of lives and has had a tremendous causal effect on the skyrocketing rates of drug overdose and sudden death in America.” These guidelines are not intended for patients with with low back pain that radiates down one or both legs, associated with weakness, tingling or any associated fever, or fecal or urinary incontinence. This type of lower back pain needs urgent management by a healthcare practitioner.