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Consumer Reports Survey: Hands-On Therapies Among Top-Rated Treatments for Back Pain
Date:4/6/2009

55% Acupuncturist 53% Physician, specialist 44% Physician, primary care 34%

  • Many of the respondents to the Consumer Reports survey said the pain interfered with sleep, sex, and efforts to maintain a healthy weight. Eighty-eight percent reported that their back pain recurred through the year. And over half of survey respondents also reported that low-back pain severely limited their daily routine for a week or longer.
  • Forty-four percent of survey respondents found exercise helpful, making it the top self-help measure. And a surprising 58 percent of respondents wished that they had done more exercises to strengthen their backs in the past year.
  • Although lower-back pain is the fifth most common reason people go to a doctor, 35 percent of the people surveyed by Consumer Reports said they had never consulted a professional. Most of them had severely limiting pain for less than a week. Many of those with more prolonged pain who didn't see a health-care professional said it was because of cost concerns or because they did not think professional care could help.

Concerns About Rising Use of Narcotics

Forty-five percent of those who took prescription drugs said they helped a lot. More than fifty percent of those given a prescription drug received an opioid pain reliever, despite the fact that there is very little research to support their use for acute low-back pain. "There are almost always better solutions than opioids for low-back pain. They have numerous adverse effects such as drowsiness, respiratory depression, constipation, and nausea, to name a few. And overdose is a big concern, sending increasing numbers of patients to emergency rooms as opioid prescriptions rise," said Dr. Orly Avitzur, a board-certified neurologist and medical adviser to Consumers Unio
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SOURCE Consumer Reports
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