Jul 30, 2013

The study published in JAMA today demonstrated that from 1999-2010 in 3 key areas, guidelines for the treatment of back pain are being ignored:

  1. Use of recommended NSAIDs such as… and APAP (Tylenol) as first line drugs decreased by ~35% whilst not recommended opioid use such as… increased by ~50%.
  2. Not recommended referral from primary care physicians (PCPs) to specialists for back pain increased by ~106%.
  3. Not recommended use of imaging, such as MRI and CT increased ~50% and for x-ray remained the same.
    The cost of care for back (and neck) pain in the USA in 2005 was $86 billion; an increase of ~ $34 billion (62%) vs. 1997; flouting the guidelines guarantees ongoing unsustainable increases in cost, and the number of suboptimal outcomes, related to unnecessary and inappropriate treatment.