New low back pain treatment guidelines from the American College of Physicians (ACP) were released last week in the Annals of Internal Medicine. Based on a report on the evidence, the ACP concluded that nonpharmacological therapy offered not fewer benefits and greater risks than pharmacological interventions for low back pain.

It further advocates that pharmacological treatment ought to be looked at if these treatments fail and the drug choice that is favored is nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs. The ACP advised that opioids should be utilized only as a last resort and only after considering whether the potential gains outweigh the dangers.

While safer, more effective treatments are ignored “Too many pain patients are damaged by poorly checked drugs,” says Perlin. Nevertheless, she includes, “ These guidelines that are new won’t help most pain patients because health insurance companies refuse to pay for the treatments that are recommended and few patients can afford to buy them out of pocket. Insurance companies should be required to fund all these therapies.” Perlin has developed a legislative proposal to deal with this problem, the Pain Treatment Parity Act, and contains a request on Change.org to encourage its adoption. More details on the subject can be accessed at lower back pain forum.

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