Prescribe exercise not drugs for lower back pain say US health chiefs

first_img Want the best of The Telegraph direct to your email and WhatsApp? Sign up to our free twice-daily  Front Page newsletter and new  audio briefings. That followed a warning by the American Heart Association last year that ibuprofen and other similar drugs can trigger heart failure, which occurs when the organ is unable to pump blood properly around the body.Current NHS guidelines states that GPs may consider prescribing non-on-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) for managing lower back pain in the first instance.Last night Steve Tolan, head of practice at the Chartered Society of Physiotherapy, said moves to recognise the benefits of exercise as a primary treatment were “encouraging”.“Painkillers are an understandable response to a back problem but they should not be offered alone and other interventions, such as exercise, are shown to be both cheaper and safer so represent a better option,” he said.Back pain is a common complaint, affecting one in six people at any given time, although it usually improves within a few weeks.But for many it persist and patients are advised by the NHS to stay as active as possible, try exercises and stretches, take anti-inflammatory painkillers and use hot or cold compression packs for short-term relief.Dr Nitin Damle, president of the ACP, said: “Physicians should avoid prescribing unnecessary tests and costly and potentially harmful drugs, especially narcotics, for these patients.”Other treatments the ACP is now recommending for patients with lower back pain in the first instance include spinal manipulation, tai chi and yoga. Physicians should avoid prescribing potentially harmful drugs, for these patientsDr Nitin Damle, President of the American College of Physicianscenter_img British GPs have come under pressure to stop handing out painkillers for people with lower back pain after American health chiefs said patients should be prescribed exercises first.The American College of Physicians has changed its official advice, telling doctors to prescribe treatments such as massages, acupuncture, and heat therapy before considering drugs.The shift of position comes in the same month a study by Sydney University found that over-the-counter painkillers made barely any difference for five out of six people with back pain.last_img read more