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Best Pract Res Clin Rheumatol. 2016 Dec;30(6):968-980. doi: 10.1016/j.berh.2017.05.001. Epub 2017 Jun 9.

Clinical guidelines for low back pain: A critical review of consensus and inconsistencies across three major guidelines.

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Health Economics Research Group, Institute of Environment, Health and Societies, Department of Clinical Sciences, Brunel University London, Kingston Lane, Uxbridge, UB8 3PH, United Kingdom. Electronic address:
Department of Orthopaedics, Duke University, 2200 W. Main St. Ste B230, Durham, NC 27705, USA.
School of Physiotherapy, The University of Notre Dame Australia, Fremantle, Australia.
Department of Pain Medicine, Brighton and Sussex University Hospitals NHS Trust, Eastern Rd, Brighton, BN2 5BE, United Kingdom.


Given the scale and cost of the low back pain problem, it is imperative that healthcare professionals involved in the care of people with low back pain have access to up-to-date, evidence-based information to assist them in treatment decision-making. Clinical guidelines exist to promote the consistent best practice, to reduce unwarranted variation and to reduce the use of low-value interventions in patient care. Recent decades have witnessed the publication of a number of such guidelines. In this narrative review, we consider three selected international interdisciplinary guidelines for the management of low back pain. Guideline development methods, consistent recommendations and inconsistencies between these guidelines are critically discussed.


Clinical guidelines; Evidence-based practice; Implementation; Low back pain

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