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BMC Med. 2011 Sep 27;9:108. doi: 10.1186/1741-7015-9-108.

Barriers and progress in the treatment of low back pain.

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Keele University, Keele, Staffordshire, UK.


Low back pain is a common and costly condition and for most people is likely to be a recurrent problem throughout their lifetime. The management of patients with low back pain has been positively influenced by the rise in high quality clinical trials and systematic reviews in recent decades, and this body of evidence, synthesized in many clinical practice guidelines, has improved our knowledge about which treatments for low back pain are useful and which are not. For the largest group of patients, those with non-specific low back pain for whom a clear diagnosis cannot be given, the reality is that the treatments we have to offer tend to produce small effects, often only in the short term and none appear to effectively change long-term prognosis. This commentary summarizes the array of treatments currently available, notes the results of recent trials and guidelines and considers alternative approaches that may prove more valuable in achieving better patient outcomes in the future.

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