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 anti-inflammatory 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.