NICE recommends low back pain treatment

Exercise, acupuncture and spinal manipulation should be used as first-line treatments for low back pain, NICE has recommended. By Lauren Trisk

The advice comes in new guidance for persistent, non-specific back pain lasting longer than six weeks, but less than a year.

As a first-line measure, GPs should offer an exercise programme, a course of acupuncture or manual therapy, such as spinal manipulation. For patients with continuing, disabling pain, a more intensive treatment programme should be provided, NICE advises.

The guidelines advise against therapeutic injections and X-ray of the lumbar spine for the management of non-specific low back pain and MRI scans are only recommended in the context of a referral for an opinion on spinal fusion.

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