Good Morning America speaks on low back pain

In March, a series of articles published by The Lancet made even more news when Good Morning America featured their findings in a TV segment. GMA summarized the recommendations as follows:


  1. Stay active.
  2. Educate yourself about low back pain and pain management. (To help you with this, check out my series on mind-body methods for managing pain.)
  3. Try superficial heat, spinal manipulation therapy (SMT), massage, and acupuncture. FYI, SMT = chiropractic.
  4. If #3 fails, try NSAIDs.


The Lancet articles posit that low back pain is the number one cause of disability in the world, but most cases are “nonspecific.” In other words, a specific cause (fracture, inflammatory processes, etc.) cannot be pinpointed. Their detailed recommendations for treatment of nonspecific low back pain are as follows:


  1. Avoid opioids.
  2. Decrease use of imaging, medication, and surgery. If all options (see #3) fail, the lowest effective dose of NSAIDs can be used for the shortest possible amount of time.
  3. Manage with self-care, physical and psychological therapies, SMT, and other complementary and alternative medicine.
  4. Because the brain starts to draw a connection between the presence of pain and disability, treatment should focus on reframing beliefs about pain and cultivating new behaviors in response to pain.


This is quite a glowing review of chiropractic and its powerful role in treating low back pain. It’s inspiring to see this system of health care make its rounds in the media, with increasing frequency, even though it comes across my desk a few months late (oops!).


Questions about low back pain or the article? Ask me in the comments, or at your next appointment.

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