Back pain – are patients getting the right care?
Lower back pain is incredibly common and is the leading cause of disability across the globe. A series of papers have been published in the medical journal, The Lancet, pleading with the medical profession to reconsider treatment options for patients with back pain.
Strong medications, injections and even surgery can be prescribed and these, experts say, are generally “overkill”. Instead, they advise that most back pain can be managed by keeping active.
Prof Martin Underwood, from Warwick University, says, “Our current treatment approaches are failing to reduce the burden of back pain disability.”
“We need to change the way we approach back pain treatment in the UK and help low and middle-income countries to avoid developing high-cost services of limited effectiveness.”
He went on to explain that a lot of people are treated with invasive procedures and that there is very little evidence to support their use.
Prof Helen Stokes-Lampard (chairs the Royal College of GPs) joined the discussion, “One size does not fit all.” She highlighted the importance of lifestyle changes but also explained that drug-treatments shouldn’t be dismissed but that it should “be prescribed at the lowest dose for the shortest possible time.”
She added that it’s important for talking therapies to be made available as these can be beneficial, but access “is patchy across the country”.
According to the Chartered Society of Physiotherapists, surgery and scans are rarely needed (unless your doctor suspects something more serious). They also recommend movement and good quality sleep to help ease the pain.
Back pain resources
- Quick tips to help ease back pain
- Exercises to relieve back pain
- “I had physiotherapy after experiencing back spasms” Aimi’s personal experience
- Find a chiropractor or physiotherapist near you
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