The GPs have been identified as key communicators to the latest treatment protocol for the condition, which results in $4.8 billion annually in health care costs.
Bed rest, imaging tests as well as pain medications and surgeries are not the most effective methods for treating people suffering from lower back pain, as per the latest clinical care standards.
The Low Back Pain Clinical Care Standard released by the Australian Commission on Safety and Quality in Health Care (the Commission) is the first of their kind to be issued in Australia.
It is presented by Associate Professor Liz Marles, a GP and Clinical Director of the Commission The standard advocate for an evolution towards active methods to assist the one-in-six Australians who suffer from lower back discomfort.
Contrary to the past theories, for the majority of instances of low back pain, we are aware that non-active methods such as medications and bed rest could result in a worsening of disability she added.
The standard describes the active self-managed strategies that help people understand their condition and ways to stay physically active and productive are the most effective ways to restore health.
Also, if pain medication are prescribed to treat pain, they should be taken for physical activity to aid in recovery rather than to eliminate pain.’
In the Standard Current evidence suggests an active approach to treatment is safer and more effective for those suffering from lower back pain that costs our Australian medical system $4.8 billion every year and is the most common reason for low productivity at work and premature retirement.
To address the problem, it is aimed to give doctors a “road map” to assist patients with managing lower back symptoms early , and lessen the chance of developing ongoing issues.
Recommendations focus on self-management and physical exercise, which addresses the psychological obstacles to recovery, such as emotions and thoughts about pain, and dealing with social barriers, such as work and family stress.
Associate Professor Marles the standard is an improvement in the effectiveness of treatment of lower back pain sufferers, that may require treatment across various healthcare fields and frequently receive contradicting recommendations.
She says that while an extensive screening of the initial assessment for any significant underlying causes such as infections, cancer and nerve compression is essential in any case of lower back pain, the chance of having a cause that is serious is minimal (1-5 percent) and is usually detected through an examination and history.
In addition, the Standards provide evidence that other research can actually slow recovery.
“We’re facing a problem in society with the fundamental assumptions about back pain that we have to confront,’ Peter O’Sullivan, a Professor of Musculoskeletal Physiotherapy from Curtin University, said.
There are numerous cases of over-treatment for fear by patients, and this can result in their condition becoming worse. As physicians, we have to be aware of what’s happening with each patient and assist patients with a customized recovery program.
“The evidence supports that, and the consensus confirms that regular and gradual physical activity and movement are essential to a more positive outcome for many individuals suffering from an acute , low back discomfort.’
As Associate Professor Marles He believes that there is the need for a common method of treating back discomfort across all medical fields.
“Unfortunately, there are times when the advice offered to those suffering from low back discomfort can lead to unhelpful perceptions and attitudes towards the pain that are not helpful, professor O’Sullivan stated.
The discussions healthcare professionals engage in with their patients is crucial for their healing.
With an ageing population, increasing obesity rates, and a growing low-activity lifestyle, adopting the new standard of clinical care is the best way to eliminate barriers to positive outcomes for patients.
The guidelines aim to cut down on the number of treatments and investigations that could be harmful or ineffective.’
As per Associate Professor Marles Dr. Marles believes that sending patients with low back pain patients to imaging even if they don’t have symptoms of a more serious condition can be a sign of ineffective investigation that can result in unnecessary worry or improper treatment.
Common findings from back scans are disc bulges, disc degeneration, and arthritis; however, these are typically seen on scans of patients who don’t have back discomfort – therefore the findings may be ineffective and misinterpreted the doctor said.
The good news is that the majority of patients who experience one incident with low back pain 75% of sufferers are able to recover quickly and will be pain-free in just six weeks.
“With this new standard we hope to stop the cycle and stop an occurrence of low back discomfort from becoming a long-term issue for many Australians.’
It’s only when patients are not recovering within six weeks, physicians should take a second look and think about the possibility of referral to a specialist for further care the professor O’Sullivan said.
The HTML0 Low Back Pain Clinical Care Standard will be announced via webcast on Thursday 1 September 2022, at 12pm (AEST).
A “quick guide” to GPs, which includes an easy-to-follow checklist along with communication tips to educate patients about the new treatment approach, was also developed and is accessible through the Commission website.
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