Guidelines Aim to Help Millions with Low Back Pain

July 2017

General Practitioners

Country of origin: UK

Millions of people with low back pain will benefit from new guidance issued to the NHS on the most effective ways to treat this often painful and distressing condition.

The National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE) and the National Clinical Guideline Centre has published a guideline to improve the early management of persistent non-specific low back pain. This covers people who have been in pain longer than six weeks but less than one year, where the pain may be linked to structures in the back such as the joints, muscles and ligaments. Setting out a range of effective mainstream and complementary treatments, the guideline recommends what care and advice the NHS should offer to people affected by low back pain.

Affecting around 1 in 3 adults in the UK each year, low back pain is a very common disorder, with an estimated 2.5 million people seeking help from their GP about their condition. For many people the pain goes away in days or weeks. However for some, the pain can be distressing and persist for a long time. It is difficult to ?cure? low back pain, but the treatments recommended in this guideline can reduce its effect on people?s lives.

Dr Dries Hettinga, Head of Policy and Research at BackCare, and Patient Representative on the Guideline said: ?This guideline is an important step forward in raising the standards of care for people with low back pain, and providing a choice of effective treatments. Fortunately most people with back pain recover within weeks without specialised treatments, but a significant group need a bit more help with their condition. This guideline is aimed at people who haven?t got better after six weeks, offering them a comprehensive treatment programme that should help prevent a long term problem from developing. This guideline will help patients understand what treatment and care can help them with their back pain, and shows that there can be a positive outlook for treating this condition.?

The guidance is available online.

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