Many people suffer from lower back pain. It is worldwide the most prevalent and most disabling of the conditions that are considered to benefit from rehabilitation. In a systematic review that included 165 studies from 54 countries, the mean point prevalence of low back pain in the general adult population was approximately 12%, with a higher prevalence among persons 40 years of age or older and among women; the lifetime prevalence was approximately 40%. Medical scientists have long been pondering the question of which treatment method is effective. AMS researcher Alessandro Chiarotto recently published an article in the The New England Journal of Medicine about the research into this topic. . Various treatment methods appear not to have the desired effect. What does?

One of the factors that makes the treatment of lower back pain difficult is that the diagnosis is complicated. What causes the pain? Chiarotto investigated whether an X-ray or MRI scan would give a clear answer. Unfortunately, this proved not to be the case. This means that an important possibility for making a diagnosis has been dropped. The rest of the research by Chiarotto and his colleagues focused on various treatment methods. Is medication useful? No, concluded Chiarotto and his colleagues. Medication did bring small or not significant benefits in the short term. The same applies to acupuncture. This method also seems to have little positive effect.

So is there no hope at all for the many people, many of them at an advanced age, who suffer from lower back pain? Yes there is. In both patients with acute and chronic low back pain, education should play a key role, with supervised exercise and behavioral therapy as other first-line therapeutic options for chronic low back pain. Therefore, physiotherapeutic or psychological treatment, according to the research by Chiarotto and his colleagues, does have a positive effect on this patient group, especially after about three months. If there is concern about a risk of the condition becoming chronic, it is better to start exercise therapy earlier, given the evidence of the benefit of exercise in alleviating chronic low back pain and minimizing the risk of recurrent low back pain. Read the article: