We asked 650 GPs how they manage acute lower back pain – here’s what they said

We asked 650 GPs how they manage acute lower back pain – here’s what they said

Managing acute low back pain in general practice is unlikely to ever be a ‘one-size-fits-all’ affair. However, a recent Healthed survey suggests there is still a wide range of variability among GPs in what they are recommending for these patients when they first present.

According to the survey almost 70% will suggest the patient try a heated wheat pack, or a heated topical rub like Dencorub (59%) but then almost 45% will recommend ice packs.

And if you look at exercise, just over half of the 650 Australian GPs surveyed report they recommend muscle strengthening exercise from the get-go despite the pain, while the other half say they suggest the patient wait until the pain subsides before starting an exercise program.

Authorities are quick to criticise GPs and their management of acute lower back pain saying that GPs often fail to follow guidelines. The issue is, of course, there are multiple guidelines out there – not all of them consistent in their recommended approach especially in areas such as the value of topical treatments and therapies as well as exercise.


To learn more about managing Acute Lower Back Pain, tune in to the next free Healthed webcast. Clinical Director of the Gold Coast Primary Health Network – Persistent Pain Program, Joyce McSwan will unpack the guidelines and the real world management strategies. Register here >>

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