Non-Specific Low Back Pain: Guidelines for Management in Primary Care

Non-Specific Low Back Pain: Guidelines for Management in Primary Care teaser image
Low back pain is a major cause of disability worldwide. Some back pain is caused by serious pathologies such as infection, spinal cord compression or tumors, or by prominent tissue injuries such as signficant disc hernias that impact nerve function. However, over 90% of back pain cases don't have a clear, significant anatomical cause and are described as "non-specific low back pain" (NSLBP). Most will resolve within days and weeks. Oliveira et al 2018 reviewed 13 country guidelines and 2 international guidelines and provided an updated overview for primary care management of NSLBP.

We have summarised the guidelines for acute and chronic NSLBP management for you HERE.

Interestingly, supervised exercise is not recommended for acute management. This might seem counter-intuitive to us "pro-exercisers". We know exercise and physical activity plays an important role in lower back pain management at any stage of recovery, however most patients can just be encouraged to self-regulate their activities early on. Too much emphasis on 'the right or wrong exercise' can be counter-productive and reduce a patients confidence in their own body. However, for those that remain fearful or avoidant of exercise despite your encouragement, referral to an Exercise Physiologist may be appropriate for exercise counselling or prescription.