THE AMERICAN COLLEGE OF PHYSICIANS ISSUES NEW GUIDELINES FOR TREATING LOW BACK PAIN -- CHIROPRACTIC RECOMMENDED

By: Dr. Donna A. Pontoriero, Chiropractor


The American College of Physicians (ACP) recommends that doctors avoid prescribing drugs, especially narcotics, for patients with acute or subacute low back pain. Patients should be treated first with non-pharmaceutical therapies, such as superficial heat, massage, acupuncture, or spinal manipulation. If drugs are needed, the evidence supports prescribing non-sterodial anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) and skeletal muscle relaxants. Acetaminophen was shown to be ineffective for acute low back pain.

The clinical practice guideline and two evidence reviews are published in Annals of Internal Medicine.

Low back pain is one of the most common reasons for patients to see a doctor, and approximately one quarter of U.S. adults reported having low pack pain lasting at least one day in the past three months. Pain is categorized as acute (lasing less than four weeks), subacute (lasting four to 12 weeks), and chronic (lasting more than 12 weeks). Acute and subacute low back pain usually improves over time regardless of treatment.

For patients with chronic low back pain, ACP recommends non-drug therapy first. Exercise, multidisciplinary rehabilitation, acupuncture, mindfulness-based stress reduction, tai chi, yoga, motor control excercise (MCE), progressive relaxation, electromyography biofeedback, low-level laser therapy, operant therapy, cognitive behavioral therapy, and spinal manipulation are shown to improve symptoms with little risk of harm. ACP emphasizes that physical therapies should be administered by providers with appropriate training.


Please contact our office if you would like further evaluation on your condition.

Dr. Donna Pontoriero can be reached at 299 Franklin Ave, Nutley NJ 07110, 973-235-9393.