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Lower back pain is one of the most common reasons people in the US go to the doctor. And treatments can include physical therapy, addictive opioids, and even surgery.

But according to new clinical treatment guidelines published Monday by the American College of Physicians (ACP), the best treatment is time and the continuation of normal routines. If needed, people can try whatever alternative therapies they want—yoga, acupuncture, tai chi, spinal manipulation. If they really want to pop a pill, they should go with ibuprofen, naproxen, or muscle relaxants. (Acetaminophen, like Tylenol, really won’t do anything, though. And opioids should only be used as a last, desperate option.)

“Physicians should reassure their patients that acute and sub-acute low back pain usually improves over time regardless of treatment,” Dr. Nitin Damle, president of the ACP, said in a press release. “Physicians should avoid prescribing unnecessary tests and costly and potentially harmful drugs, especially narcotics, for these patients.”

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Source: Doctors: Lower back pain is like a cold—minor, annoying, and temporary | Ars Technica

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