American College of Physicians Endorses Acupuncture, Chiropractic for Back Pain
The American College of Physicians (ACP), the largest medical specialty society in the world, has officially endorsed non-drug therapies as first-line treatments for back pain. These therapies include acupuncture, chiropractic, massage, multidisciplinary rehab, and other types of drug-free treatments. The ACP now recommends these complementary therapies as the first line of treatment for acute or subacute low back pain, and that drugs should not be used.
According to the ACP, since the development of the previous 2007 guidelines which primarily called for the use of drug interventions, new evidence has emerged which supports certain complimentary treatments for lower back pain. It is now clear that several non-pharmacologic therapies for lower back pain are associated with small to moderate effects on pain. Other modalities included by the ACP are heat therapy, mindfulness-based stress reduction, Tai Chi, Yoga, motor control exercise, low-level laser therapy, and cognitive behavioral therapy.
Reasons for this new outlook include the rising concern over the rising opioid crisis and the fact that recent evidence has shown that acetaminophen (Tylenol) does not improve pain outcomes versus placebo. In addition, there is also evidence that systemic steroids are generally ineffective for treating acute or subacute low back pain.
Written by David Gabriele