Is medication your best option for low back pain?

This past February, new guidelines were set out by the American College of Physicians (ACP) as to what to do when an adult experiences low back pain. In North America, low back pain is one of the most common reasons for all visits to a medical doctor’s office. It has been estimated that approximately 80% of people will experience back pain at least once in their lifetime. If you are one of the many people who suffer from low back pain and are not exactly sure as to what your next step should be, lets review these new guidelines.

For people who have acute (lasting less than 4 weeks) or subacute (lasting 4 to 12 weeks) low back pain, the ACP suggests that your first line of defense should include heat, massage, acupuncture and spinal manipulation (chiropractic adjustments). If you are dealing with chronic (longer than 12 weeks) low back pain, the ACP suggests initially choosing options such as exercise, multidisciplinary rehabilitation, acupuncture, stress reduction, and again spinal manipulation. Only after these types of treatments have been exhausted does the ACP suggest pharmacological treatment with non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs as the first drug of choice.

Based on this information, medication should not be the first line of defense in treating low back pain. The next time low back pain shows up in your daily routine, please consider putting down the pill bottle and get to the root cause of the problem. All of the treatments suggested in these guidelines can be found under one roof at Lead.

If you would like more information on these guidelines, please visit the American College of Physicians website at:

As always, if you have any questions about the services offered at Lead, please do not hesitate to contact our office!

Yours in health,

Dr. Rikki MacKenzie