- Low back pain is the leading cause of disability worldwide and its burden is growing.
- Around 90% of people who present with low back pain have non-specific low back pain, meaning no clear underlying cause can be identified.
- Non-specific low back pain is a diagnosis of exclusion which can be diagnosed clinically, through a targeted assessment, without imaging.
- A risk stratification approach can help reduce the risk of a patient developing chronic pain and disability.
- Education, reassurance and advice to stay active is first-line therapy for all patients. Medicines have a limited role, but can be an adjunct to support activity.
Low back pain podcast
Low back pain is a complex and challenging condition. It affects people of all ages and is the leading cause of disability in the world. Unfortunately, many of the common treatments we use to manage low back pain may not be as effective as we would like and have the potential to cause harm.
Join us for a conversation between Dr Jeannie Yoo, GP and NPS medical advisor, and Professor Chris Maher, one of the world’s leading researchers in back pain. Together, they discuss all things back pain: from imaging to physiotherapy; what works and what doesn’t.
Education and low back pain
A recent Australian study found that basic education in primary care is just as effective as intensive education for helping patients with acute non-specific low back pain.
Find out about what the study showed, how the media reported it and the education recommendations for low back pain.
Practice Review – Low back pain: a focus on imaging
Australian GPs recently received a Practice Review about their requests for imaging of the lower back.
- Reflect on your data in relation to your patients and their indications for imaging.
- Find more information to help you interpret and understand your data.
- Access a sample report.
Medicinewise News: Patient-centred, pragmatic prescribing for acute non-specific low back pain
Managing acute non-specific low back pain can be a contradictory experience for healthcare professionals. On the positive side, acute non-specific low back pain is a self-limiting condition. On the challenging side, recent evidence shows that available medicines have little or no effect on this kind of pain. So how can a healthcare professional deal with patient expectations for pain relief?
Why tackle acute non-specific low back pain now?
Research shows that care for patients with acute non-specific low back pain could be improved by sticking more closely to guideline recommendations. These include:
- educating patients about their options
- providing assurance of a favourable prognosis, and
- encouraging patients to remain active and avoid bed rest.