American College of Physicians and the American Pain Society Recommends Physical Therapy to Manage Low Back Pain

PHILADELPHIA – The American College of Physicians and the American Pain Society recommend doctors prescribe physical therapy when managing patients with low back pain.

“There are many options for evaluation and treatment of low back pain,” said Amir Qaseem, MD, PhD, MHA, senior medical associate in the American College of Physicians Department of Clinical Programs and Quality of Care, and an author of the guidelines. “We wanted to review all the evidence and develop guidance for clinicians and to give our patients a realistic sense of what they can expect when they visit a clinician for low back pain.  In particular, clinicians should consider the addition of non-pharmacological therapies with proven benefits.”

“This recommendation comes as no surprise to physical therapists,” said Dr. Timothy Flynn from Regis University, Denver, and President of the American Academy of Orthopedic Manual Physical Therapists (AAOMPT). “Research has consistently shown the value of particular physical therapy interventions for patients with low back pain.  Specifically, spinal manipulation and exercise have repeatedly been shown to be effective in managing patients’ current pain and preventing future episodes.  We are glad to see that the American College of Physicians and the American Pain Society recommend physical therapy as a safe and effective alternative to drugs for patients with back pain.”  Physical Therapists can help patients with low back pain by performing thorough examinations and designing an evidence-based treatment program to meet their particular needs.  These treatments can include hands-on therapies to mobilize the spine and exercises designed to alleviate low back pain.

For more on the benefits that physical therapists can provide in the management of low back pain, contact your nearest physical therapist or visit the American Academy of Manual Physical Therapists website at: www.aaompt.org.