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A leading physician group advises that people with back pain postpone a doctor's visit until they've tried non-medicinal remedies, Forbes reports.
The new guidelines by the American College of Physicians (ACP) recommend avoiding pills and using other therapies such as massage, heat, acupuncture, exercise, yoga or physical therapy as the primary approach to patients with low back pain lasting less than 12 weeks’ duration. If medication for temporary pain relief must be used, the group suggested over-the-counter medicines like ibuprofen and aspirin.
These guidelines represent something of a shift in thinking, as doctors have for many decades prescribed opiates for immediate relief of pain. But with opioid addiction becoming a national epidemic, physicians increasingly advocate alternative forms of treatment.
The ACP emphasized that in most instances, low back pain will improve on its own, particularly if the individual engages in proper exercise or stays active. However, if the pain radiates down one or both legs, or is associated with weakness, tingling or any associated fever, that person should consult their family doctor immediately.