In case you haven’t noticed, there’s a lot of discussion in healthcare circles regarding usage of pain medications and especially opioids.
The Wall Street Journal summarized a study by the American College of Physicians regarding treatment of low back pain:
According to new guidelines developed by the American College of Physicians,39 conservative non-drug treatments should be favored over drugs for most back pain. The guidelines are an update that include a review of more than 150 recent studies and conclude that, “For acute and subacute pain, the guidelines recommend nondrug therapies first, such as applying heat, massage, acupuncture, or spinal manipulation, which is often done by a chiropractor.” — The Wall Street Journal
Monique Trello, M.D., MPH, contributing editor to the Harvard Health Blog from Harvard Health Publications, went on to remark that, “Because some medications carry significant risks, we really shouldn’t be recommending these right off the bat. Rather, we should be providing guidance on heating pad or hot water bottle use, and recommendations or referrals to acupuncturists, massage therapists, and chiropractors. These therapies were somewhat effective, and are very unlikely to cause harm.”
Naturally, every patient’s condition and body is unique. However, in general starting off conservatively and then moving into more invasive treatment if the conservative treatment fails, much like going up a series of steps, provides the greatest benefit to the patient with the least risk. Fortunately, that’s the model we have been using for several years. If we can help someone with conservative treatment, we try to do so. If it works out, then great. If not, then we send them to the ‘next step’ to someone who will be able to help them get out of pain and enjoy life.
“Noninvasive Treatments for Acute, Subacute, and Chronic Low Back Pain” published at Annals.org on 14 February 2017.
Monique Tello POSTED APRIL 12TH, 2017 http://www.health.harvard.edu/blog/low-back-pain-try-steps-first-201
Wall Street Journal No Drugs for Back Pain, New Guidelines Say: The American College of Physicians says to use natural and alternative therapies first. Sumathi Reddy Feb. 13, 2017 www.wsj.com