Intended for healthcare professionals

Research Article

Low back pain.

British Medical Journal 1993; 306 doi: (Published 03 April 1993) Cite this as: British Medical Journal 1993;306:901
  1. A Frank
  1. Northwick Park Hospital, Harrow.


    The studies reviewed here show that the duration and severity of individual episodes of back pain can be lessened, reducing recurrences and their cost in terms of suffering and lost work. Frank examines differential diagnosis; acute, chronic, and intractable pain; and service implications. Modern management emphasises self care, and bed rest should usually not be longer than 48 hours. A return to physical fitness and other activities, including employment, is actively encouraged. Medication has a role in facilitating these objectives. Two points are especially emphasised: strategies to manage low back pain must be long term and preventive; and the responsibility to keep fit, maintain an exercise programme, and remain relaxed so as to avoid physically stressing the spine is that of the individual, not of the professionals.