KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations

Study Finds Doctors Not Following Medical Guidelines On Back Pain

Researchers report that physicians are often overly aggressive by prescribing addictive narcotics to patients instead of other recommended drugs and are too often using surgery and unneeded imaging tools.

Los Angeles Times: Back Pain: Doctors Increasingly Ignore Clinical Guidelines
Doctors have increasingly ignored clinical guidelines for the treatment of routine back pain by prescribing powerful and addictive narcotics instead of other recommended painkillers and by recommending unwarranted diagnostic imagery, according to a new study. Researchers at Massachusetts' Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center and Harvard Medical School based their conclusion on an examination of roughly 24,000 cases of spine problems in national databases from 1999 to 2010. Their findings appeared online Monday in JAMA Internal Medicine (Morin, 7/29).

Fox News: Doctors Don't Follow Back Pain Guidelines, Study Finds
A new study has found that many physicians are not following expert recommendations for the treatment of back pain. By not doing so, they are subjecting patients to unnecessary imaging tests, ineffective surgeries and unnecessary exposure to addictive narcotics, say the authors of the study published in JAMA Internal Medicine. Several guidelines for back pain stress a more hands off approach, largely because more aggressive treatments have not been shown to improve the pain and subject patients to risks (Tarkan, 7/30).

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