Could The “Do Nothing Approach”

Be Best For Low Back Pain?

There are new guidelines to take into consideration...

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Page TitleExperiencing low back pain?


The American College of Physicians has provided new guidance for addressing low back pain.

It might start as a dull ache or a quick pinch, perhaps after a slip on a wet floor or lifting a heavy box. A sudden onset of low back pain can range anywhere from a temporary nuisance to constant discomfort...

The American College of Physicians recently updated their guidelines for treating this sudden – or acute, as your doctor will call it – low back pain.

The new evidence-backed recommendations center on non-invasive methods of combatting acute low back pain, which often resolves without prescription drugs and simply with the passage of time and continuation of physical activity.

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The new guidelines recommend that low back pain sufferers should first treat their symptoms using a combination of superficial heat, and even massage, acupuncture or chiropractic care. If the pain is interfering with daily life, then non-prescription anti-inflammatory drugs are in order.

Yoga, stress-reduction techniques (such as meditation), and physical therapy are also recommended. Only after these methods have been exhausted should stronger drugs, or more invasive treatments, be considered.

In summary, prescription pain-killers should not be prescribed as often as they were before, as most acute low back pain will resolve on its own. The revised recommendations emphasize solutions that don’t carry the potential risks and side effects of prescription drugs.

Though the new guidelines are helpful, some situations do warrant calling your doctor. To help in deciding whether to wait it out or seek medical assistance, ask yourself the following...

  Was the pain triggered by an accident? If so, there might be physical damage that needs to be addressed before the pain will subside.
  Is the pain accompanied by any other symptoms? That could be a sign of an underlying condition that needs to be diagnosed.
  Does the pain radiate down the legs? That could be a sign that nerves near the spine are compressed, which will need to be resolved in order to avoid damaging the nerves.

Finally, if your low back pain hasn’t dissipated after three months, it’s time to seek a specialist’s advice and consider alternative treatment options.


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