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Study Says Doctors Write Too Many Prescriptions for Back Pain

A new study says doctors are not following the expert recommendations for back pain- which in most cases can heal without drugs or surgery.

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[A new study says prescription narcotics are ineffective for treating most back pain]

A new study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association says back pain usually resolves by itself in a couple of months, but patients are being subjected to ineffective surgeries and unnecessary exposure to potentially addictive narcotics. University of Central Florida Physical Therapy Assistant Professor William Hanney says some of his patients push for an MRI- which is not good at diagnosing back pain because it only offers a still or static picture of the back.

“And so when it’s a static picture of low back pain, it really doesn’t reflect how the back functions dynamically. Most people with mechanical low back pain, if they stay still, they lay down and don’t do anything, they have very few symptoms, it’s actually when they’re up moving around that the symptoms get worse,” Hanny says.

The JAMA report says in most cases, CT scans and MRI’s are unnecessary and that over the counter pain relievers should work just fine. Physical therapy has also been shown to be effective.  The study notes a worrisome rise in prescription narcotics for treating back pain, even though they’ve been shown to be largely ineffective.  


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