Acute Low Back Pain in Adults: Assessment and Treatment

Agency for Health Care Polcy and Research

Quick Reference Guide for Clinicians #14

Table of Contents


U.S. Department of Health and Human Services


(AP) Chiropractic physicians say new clinical practice guidelines released today by the U.S. Agency for Health Care Policy and Research (AHCPR) confirms what they have known for years. Spinal manipulation is one of the most effective treatments for acute adult low back pain.

Dr. John Triano, D.C. of Dallas was among 23 health care professionals that spent two and one half years developing the federal guidelines by studying research data from around the world. "The report shows that spinal manipulation, a treatment primarily used by chiropractic physicians is one of the most effective treatments for acute lower back pain," says Dr. Triano.

"The report is significant" says Dr. Triano, because it provides the public with conclusions supported by scientific evidence regarding the most useful and cost effective treatments for one of the nation's most widespread and expensive medical problems. According to data from the U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), low back problems effect virtually everyone at some time during their life and are the second leading cause of work time loss. Low back pain is the most common cause of disability for people under age 45.

Low back pain is second only to the common cold as a primary reason for visiting a physician's office. Surveys indicate more than 50 percent of working age adults experience low back pain and 15 to 20 percent of those people seek medical help every year. Effective chiropractic treatment early in the course is the most logical means of reducing the financial impact to society and individual suffering.

"The report demonstrates why the use of manipulation through chiropractic care is rapidly growing around the world," said Dr. Kevin Raef, President of the Texas Chiropractic Association. "This report is another indication why chiropractic physicians should be considered primary care providers under every health plan," Dr. Raef added.

-- Dr. John J. Triano, DC, MA served on a panel sponsored by the Agency for Health Care Policy and Research, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Public Health Service. Currently chiropractic staff physician, Texas Back Institute; member, board of advisors, Texas Back Institute research foundation; member, Texas Chiropractic Association.