According to the latest NPR-Truven Health Analytics Health Poll, more than half of the people in the United States suffered lower back pain in the past year.
We all know that lower back pain is very common, and one of the biggest reasons why people seek medical care. However, people told the pollsters that they were making different choices in how they treated their pain. It was noted that people took medical treatments based on their age groups and income levels.
The poll also found out that doctors often do not give proper advise based on the best medical evidence. The doctors instated are prescribing treatments which do not help much in relieving back pain and can expose the patients to serious risks, like addiction to the opioids prescribed.
According to the poll, at least 55 percent of the people said that they treated their back pains themselves without seeking the help of a doctor. People said that they usually reach for over-the-counter medications like ibuprofen, which can provide significant relief form the pain without much risk.
However, according to the clinical guidelines issued by the American College of Physicians, which was published in April, the current advice for relieving back pain is to try to stay active and try non-pharmaceutical remedies like using a heating pad first, before Advil or Aleve. Those guidelines also said there’s evidence of benefits from acupuncture, massages and chiropractic.
Commenting on the findings of the report, vice president and chief health informatics officer for Truven Health Analytics and IBM Watson Health, “Many more patients are getting opioids than you would expect.”
Report states that when people visit a doctor, the treatment that is mostly recommended to the participants of the survey are prescription painkillers. The prescription included opioids, which are overprescribed in the US, and have caused the nation’s epidemic of opioid dependence.