Jermyn R. A nonsurgical approach to low back pain. J Am Osteopath Assoc 2001;101(4_suppl_2):6S–11S. doi: .
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Low back pain, a leading cause of disability in the United States, has a significant economic impact not only on lost productivity but also on healthcare expenditures. Approximately a fifth of patients will see multiple physicians in their quest for relief of low back pain. Primary care physicians therefore play a crucial role in the initial approach to these patients. A thorough history and physical examination directed toward the neurologic, orthopedic, and osteopathic evaluation are essential. This article reviews the diagnosis and assessment of pain levels and a triad system of therapy involving cortical, spinal, and peripheral levels. Options include antidepressants, neuroleptics, neurostimulants, and osteopathic manipulative treatment (OMT) (cortical level); opiates, tramadol hydrochloride, and transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulators (spinal level); and nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, epidural injections, spinal blocks, antispasmodics, physical therapy, muscle relaxants, exercise, and OMT (peripheral level), By choosing a modality directed at each level, the clinician may provide the patient with a pain management program that will maximize the chosen mode of therapy and restore function and mobility.
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