New report warns of widespread ineffectiveness of lower back pain treatments

Dr. Jennifer Ashton discusses what to know about the new report and some of the latest treatment options for those dealing with lower back pain.
2:28 | 03/22/18

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Transcript for New report warns of widespread ineffectiveness of lower back pain treatments
Over to you. That health alert about lower back pain as many as 540 million people suffer from it. According to new research, many treatments whether they're surgery, testing, pain medication could be all wrong. Dr. Jen Ashton is in Boston and will tell us more about this. So let us know what the study has revealed, Jen. Robin, this was really the magnum opus that appeared in "Lancet" drawing attention to the massive gap that exists between evidence-based medicine and what's really going on when it talks about low back pain so back pain by the numbers as you said, this affects 540 million people around the world at any one time. It is the number one cause of disability. Costs, both financial and personal are really unknown. But this is a massive global public health burden and in terms of causes, that's the difficult thing. Most of the time we never know what causes low back pain, of course, there can be musculoskeletal issues like disc problem, rarely there can be infections like staph or at the berk least cyst but there's psychological and genetic, economic factors and it's a complex problem. It is. We're all aware of that especially if you suffer fbom it. But any new treatments? Any help? Well, this is what was so interesting about these guidelines. They broke down the evidence worldwide and they said, first line treatment stay active. Our gut instinct is to get into bed when our back hurts and we can't walk without pain. That is actually the worst thing you can do so stay active and if possible, try to stay at work. The second thing they say, education as a first line treatment. Well, what does that mean? Learn what works and what doesn't work from reputable sources. Then second line and this is what I really want people to pay attention to. Guidelines recommend as option, superficial heat, pretty decent evidence, spinal manipulation, massage or acupuncture and in terms of medication, N nonsteroidal anti-inflammatories only if the other things are not working, not opioids. Well, I was going to do a quick true or false. We don't have time. But I have the cards stacked because I have a group of nurses behind me who are going to give me the right answers anyway. I'll put it on my Twitter, robin.

This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.

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