Taking the pain out of back pain with effective lower back pain management – an overview
Back pain affects people across any socio-economic category and is a leading cause of absenteeism and decreased productivity in the workplace. This symptomatic condition is caused by multiple factors, making it difficult to manage. With a small proportion of people experiencing back pain due to pathological reasons, in the larger majority, back pain is due to a mechanical cause. Taking a complete history that includes identifying risk factors such as depression, poor posture, lack of exercise, older age and a physically demanding job is crucial to the effective management of the condition. Behavioural, psychological and social factors of the patient should form the backbone for treatment of back pain. Non-pharmacological management such as exercise and targeted physiotherapy should be the first-line treatment. However, if this provides poor results then pharmacological measures such as the use of nonsteroidal antiinflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) like ibuprofen or muscle relaxants such as cyclobenzaprine should be considered. The pharmacist at the frontline can play a major role in assisting in the recovery of many patients.