New Guidelines for treatment of low back pain

The new NICE guidelines were published on the 30th November 2016 for low back pain and sciatica. These are of interest to me as a Chiropractor because back pain and sciatica are the most common reasons for people seeking Chiropractic treatment at our clinic.

What are the NICE guidelines?

NICE is the National institute for health and care excellence and were set up by the department of health. They produce clinical guidelines recommending how health care professionals should care for people with specific conditions. They look at the evidience and cost effectiveness of different treatments to make their recommendations.

As a Chiropractor who treats back pain and sciatica, on a daily basis, I was very pleased with these guidelines as many of the recommendations are things we do at our clinic.  I have read them (the first draft of the guidance came out in the Spring) and I thought I would summarise their recommendations here.  So if you see any health professional whether or not that is a Chiropractor, Osteopath, physiotherapist or your GP these are the most up to date guidelines based on the latest evidence of how we should treat back pain. It also includes things that should not be recommended for back pain.

What the guidelines recommend we should do:

  • Consider exercises programs taking into consideration the specific needs, capabilities and preferences of the patient.
  • Consider manual therapy (manipulation, mobilisation and massage) as part of a multi modal package of care.
  • Provide people with advice and information, tailored to their needs and capabilities, to help them self-manage their low back pain
  • Consider psychological therapies as part of a multimodal package of care.
  • Use ibuprofen and not paracetamol.
  • Encourage work and return to normal activities


Interestingly these are things the guidelines say we should NOT do.

  • Do not offer paracetamol on its own
  • Do not offer ultrasound or TENS
  • Do not offer acupuncture
  • No not offer orthotics


It is important to bear in mind that these are guidelines and not you must do protocols. However they do provide a good overview of what works (and what doesn’t) for the majority of people with back pain.

If you have back pain and would like treatment from the Chiropractor at our clinic you can be assured that the treatment you receive with be in line with and supported by the latest evidence of what works and what is recommended in the most recent guidelines.

To make an appointment with the Chiropractor just give the clinic a call on 01476 501301

Posted in: Prime Chiropractic

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