The BMJ has published an infographic giving a brief overview of updated National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) recommendations for the assessment and management of low back pain and sciatica . Accompanying a neat summary of the NICE recommendations, this infographic illustrates the pathway that a person with low back pain will undertake when he goes to a physician.
Some key takeaways are:
- Imaging (MRI, X-Ray) does not need to be done unless there is a suspicion of something which will change the current way the back pain is being treated.
- Always consider specific, “red flags” causes of back pain, such as infection, trauma, or a neurological disorder.
- Group patients according to how well their recovery may appear to go to better tailor the appropriate management for each group.
- Physical programs: Always do a combination of both hands-on and exercise therapy, involving stretching, strengthening, cardio, yoga, or Tai Chi.
- Medication: Consider a short course of pain killers or anti-inflammatory medication
Read and download the full article and infographic here: Low back pain and sciatica: summary of NICE guidance
- BMJ 2017;356:i6748.