There are new guidelines for doctors treating low back pain.
Medical experts have developed evidence-based guidelines to help doctors manage patients with acute low back pain.
Low back pain is one of the most common reasons for outpatient visits to doctors, but experts believe there is a lack of consistency in how best to handle these cases.
Researchers at Emory University Hospital and Georgia Health Sciences University developed a process for how doctors should manage patients with low back pain.
During their first visit, patients should be categorized into one of three groups after a thorough medical history and physical examination: non-specific low back pain; low back pain potentially associated with compression of a nerve in the spine or abnormal narrowing of the spinal canal; or low back pain potentially associated with a specific cause.
The recommendations also guide doctors through the process of evaluation, management and follow-up of patients, including recommendations for appropriate imaging and laboratory tests and referral for consultation about surgery or other procedures.
The findings were published in the October issue of the Journal of the American College of Radiology.