Perspective from Kern Singh, MD
January 30, 2020
2 min read

NASS releases guidelines for diagnosis, treatment of low back pain

Perspective from Kern Singh, MD
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The North American Spine Society announced the release of evidence-based clinical guidelines for multidisciplinary spine care for the diagnosis and treatment of low back pain.

The guidelines can help practitioners treat adult patients with non-specific low back pain above the knee, according to a press release issued by the North American Spine Society.

“This is the largest clinical guideline NASS has ever undertaken,” D. Scott Kreiner, MD, an Arizona physiatrist, co-chair of NASS’ Evidence-Based Guideline Development Committee, and NASS Research Council Director, said in the release.

Eleven societies that offered stakeholder representatives to help develop the document and comment during its review. The Diagnosis and Treatment of Low Back Pain guideline document included over 45,000 literature search results and 82 clinical questions with more than 100 recommendation statements.

The recommendations address clinical questions on the diagnosis and treatment of adult patients with non-specific low back pain with leg pain above the knee, according to the release. The guideline was divided into sections that include diagnosis, imaging, medical and physiological treatment, physical medicine and rehabilitation, interventional treatment, surgical treatment and cost utility. A work group graded each guideline recommendation based on the strength of the scientific evidence.

“It’s important to understand the inclusion and exclusion criteria for this guideline in order to correctly interpret the recommendations,” Paul Matz, MD, a Wyoming-based neurosurgeon and co-chair of the Evidence-Based Guideline Development Committee, said in the release. “This guideline is focused on a subset of low back pain care as opposed to low back pain in its entirety.”

He added, “The guideline clearly describes the scope, patient population, development methodology, and levels of evidence used.”