Integrative Medicine for Low Back Pain Now Standard Care

Written by Georgia Tetlow, Integrative Physician and edited by Jill Maddock, PIM Office Manager

It is gratifying to know that Integrative Medicine is being embraced as an approach to such a common and important condition as low back pain by the conventional medical community. This supports the growth of Integrative and Functional Medicine within mainstream clinical practice as well as encourages a team approach to healthcare through inter-professional collaboration. We also have the opportunity to track clinical outcomes and increase the body of evidence for efficacy in these integrative therapies.

In the spring of 2017, the American College of Physicians issued a guideline that affirms the importance and value of Integrative Medicine for pain management for issues like low back pain. Their publication "Non-invasive Treatments for Acute and Subacute, Chronic Low Back Pain: A Clinical Practice Guideline from the American College of Physicians"recommended that patients receive nonpharmacologic treatments including superficial heat, massage, acupuncture or spinal manipulation. When pharmacologic treatment was desired, anti-inflammatories or muscle relaxants were recommended.

For chronic low back pain, exercise, multidisciplinary rehabilitation, acupuncture, mindfulness-based stress reduction (moderate quality evidence), tai chi, yoga, motor control exercise, progressive relaxation, electromyography biofeedback, low-level laser therapy, cognitive behavioral therapy or spinal manipulation were recommended.

The personal and community impact of low back pain is significant. One quarter of U.S. adults report having low back pain lasting at least one day in the last three months. Economically, the combined total healthcare cost including lost wages and productivity were estimated to be $100 billion in 2006. Integrative Medicine for pain management strives to reduce these statistics through prevention. Please spread the word about the new guideline below and we all can continue to advocate for equitable insurance coverage for those therapies which are not currently covered.

If you or your loved one has a musculoskeletal or neurological concern, please consider scheduling an appointment with Annmarie McManus, MMSc, PA-C, PT, IFMCP, our certified Functional Medicine PIM provider. Please use this Google form to schedule: