New Guidelines Advocate Non-Drug Remedies for Lower Back Pains

The American College of Physicians (ACP) on Monday published a new set of guidelines in the journal Annals of Internal Medicine suggesting that opioid painkillers and other medications should be the last resort to treating lower back pain. The ACP now advocates the use of non-drug remedies and physical therapy to treating low back pain.

According to the publication, lower back pain is one of the reasons many people visit the doctor or take strong painkillers, stressing that these drugs have little to no proven benefits for patients and should be avoided altogether. And where patients have reported results with medications, the researchers say the effects have been short-lived with no long-term results.

Painkillers for lower back pain should be avoided

The new set of guidelines stated that medication such as acetaminophen (Tylenol) should no longer be used for lower back pains. And Oxycontin, as well as Vicodin among other opioid painkillers, should only be used as a last resort in cases where other options for severe back pain have been exhausted, US News writes.

The report states that if medication must be used at all, muscle relaxants or non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs such as ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin) and naproxen (Aleve) could be used. Meanwhile, duloxetine (Cymbalta) or the narcotic painkiller tramadol may be given in rare cases only where other medications have failed.

These strong opioids must only be administered for a few days to ease the pain, since there is always the risk of addiction and overdose, especially in elderly people.

Non-invasive treatments that ACP now recommends

The ACP now advocates non-drug and non-invasive options for treating lower back pains. In this case, the patient could be asked to go for acupuncture and other waist-pain therapies which have been proven to ease lower waist pains. A single therapy could work and sometimes a combination of therapies could go hand in hand, New York Times reports.

There are still other exercise-based therapies that have been proven to work for low back pain, and these include tai chi, yoga, cognitive behavioral therapy and stress reduction or guided relaxation therapies. Heat wraps and body massage and spinal manipulation have also been proven to work in several cases of waist pain.

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