A recent study found that NSAIDs did not work well for back pain. But, new recommendations take that conclusion even further: it may be best to avoid medications altogether — at least at the start.

The American College of Physicians has just come out with new guidelines for the treatment of low back pain based on a review of more than 150 studies. The big news? Medications tend to have only temporary and modest benefits, so it makes sense to try something other than a pill. The specifics depend on the type and duration of back pain.

For new low back pain (lasting less than 12 weeks), try:

  • heat
  • massage
  • acupuncture
  • spinal manipulation, as with chiropractic care.

If these don’t work, NSAIDs or a muscle relaxant are reasonable options. But given their potential to cause side effects and their modest benefit, they aren’t the first choice.

More information in this article from Harwaard Medical School

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