Experts: Non-drug therapies over medication for back pain

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The American College of Physicians now officially says to start with other therapies. (WPVI)

The American College of Physicians now officially says to start with other therapies as opposed to medication for back pain.

The group's new guidelines recommend massage, superficial heat, spinal manipulation, and acupuncture first for short-term low back pain, that means pain lasting less than three months.

For chronic low back pain, the group says yoga, tai chi, acupuncture, and other non-drug techniques should be the first option.

"Most low back pain is self-limited. It will resolve within a matter of a few days or even maybe up to a week or two," Dr. Nitin Damle said.

The doctors' group says if medication is needed, steer clear of acetaminophen, commonly known as Tylenol, because there's little evidence it helps.

For chronic back pain, non-steroidal anti-inflammatories such as Ibuprofen should be tried first.

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