B O D Y T A L K
For Back Pain,
Physicians Say Try
Massage Before Pills
New guidelines from the American
College of Physicians (ACP) recommend
trying massage, yoga, or exercise before
medication for acute low-back pain.
The guidelines were published in the
February 2017 Annals of Internal Medicine.
Researchers analyzed more than
150 studies looking at what works and
what doesn't when it comes to low-back
pain. ACP President Nitin Damle, MD,
says "garden variety back pain"—not
the kind of pain that radiates down
your leg or causes numbness—usually
goes away on its own. "The body
will adjust, the inflammation will go
down," Damle says. It may take a few
days or even a week, but eventually
the individual will be back to normal.
So, Damle asks, why risk the side
effects of medication? Side effects can
include gastritis, upset stomach, and
a rise in blood pressure. Instead, the
new guidelines suggest techniques to
speed up the healing process, including
massage, heat wraps, acupuncture, and
spinal manipulation, which can "relax
the muscles, joints, and tendons so
people can be relieved of their low-
back pain sooner, rather than later."
Primary care physician Steven
Atlas, an associate professor at
Harvard Medical School who
practices at Massachusetts General
Hospital, describes the guidelines as
a needed change. "We are moving
away from simple fixes like a pill to
a more complex view that involves
a lot of lifestyle changes," he says.
Learn more at http://bit.ly/2nA4SwF.