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Does Your Back Hurt? Don't Go See Your Doctor Unless . . .

Posted Jul 30 2013 3:00am
A very interesting study was published yesterday in JAMA Internal Medicine  in which the authors noted that despite numerous guidelines to the contrary, simple uncomplicated back pain is being overtreated here in the States. Most recently, a number of specialty groups came together for the Choosing Wisely campaign to educate consumers on what not to do.  High up on the list is (not) getting some kind of imaging, be it xray, CT scan or MRI for simple back pain w/o any red flag signs/symptoms .  Chances are the study won't find anything wrong and certainly won't help you get better any faster than if you didn't exposure yourself to all that radiation.

But this isn't the first time that we've promulgated that bit of advice.  Yet in the article published yesterday, over the last 12 years, we've been ordering more CT scans & MRIs and prescribing more narcotics, none of which really helps. Unless you have numbness, tingling, weakness, incontinence, fever, sweats, chills, unexplained weight loss or known cancer, what you really need is time. But from personal experience, that was the longest 4 weeks of my life!


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