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Papers of the Week

2022 Nov 24

Korean J Intern Med

Assessment and nonsurgical management of low back pain: a narrative review.


Park S C, Kang M-S, Yang J H, Kim T-H
Korean J Intern Med. 2022 Nov 24.
PMID: 36420562.


Low back pain (LBP) is a common condition that affects people of all ages and income levels worldwide. The etiology of LBP may be mechanical, neuropathic, systemic, referred visceral, or secondary to other causes. Despite numerous studies, the diagnosis and management of LBP remain challenging due to the complex biomechanics of the spine and confounding factors, such as trivial degenerative imaging findings irrelevant to symptoms and psychological and emotional factors. However, it is imperative to identify the crucial signs ("red flags") indicating a serious underlying condition. While many recent guidelines emphasize non-pharmacologic management approaches, such as education, reassurance, and physical and psychological care, as the first option, LBP patients in many countries, including South Korea, are prescribed medications. Multidisciplinary rehabilitation combined with prudent use of medications is required in patients unresponsive to first-line therapy. The development of practical guidelines apposite for South Korea is needed with multidisciplinary discussion.