- 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.
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.