ITEMS IN AFP WITH KEYWORD:
Repetitive trauma and overuse are common causes of chronic mechanical low back pain. The history and physical examination can point toward a specific etiology, and imaging should generally be used only in the presence of red flags. Evidence-based therapies include nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, topiramate, and physical therapy.
There is some evidence that early physical therapy may decrease posttreatment health care utilization for low back pain.
Lumbar fusion for degenerative spinal disease appears to be most beneficial for patients undergoing the procedure for spondylolisthesis, but it is of little clear benefit for patients with other indications, such as spinal stenosis or chronic back pain.
At $30,000 per quality-adjusted life year (QALY) gained, early PT for acute low back pain in primary care is cost-effective by the usual criteria of $50,000 to $100,000 per QALY. However, the magnitude of improvement in quality of life is small and is probably not clinically meaningful.
The existing data on gabapentinoids for chronic low back pain are limited in number and quality. The amount of pain reduction is low to moderate, and the rate of adverse effects is high. The few studies that assessed function found no improvement.
The American College of Physicians has released a guideline, which partially updates its 2007 guideline, to provide recommendations for noninvasive treatment of acute (duration less than four weeks), subacute (duration of four to 12 weeks), and chronic (duration longer than 12 weeks) low back pain. It does not address topical or epidural therapies.
What are the benefits and harms of noninvasive treatments for acute, subacute, and chronic low back pain?
Pregabalin does not relieve pain in patients with sciatica.
These investigators gave twice daily placebo to patients with chronic back pain and told them it was placebo. They also told them that placebos can have a pronounced effect (which is true). The addition of placebo to usual care improved patients' pain and disability scores over the three weeks of the study.
This trial is a good example of how to do just about everything wrong to get the results you want. The authors did not conceal allocation, did not mask anyone in the study, used an unvalidated and subjective primary outcome, and downplayed the intention-to-treat analysis. Funding for the original st...