An overview of the management of back pain

N. Padayachee*, M. Lundie, N. Schellack

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)


Back pain affects people across any socio-economic category and is a leading cause of absenteeism and decreased productivity in the workplace. This symptomatic condition is caused by multiple factors, making it difficult to manage. With a small proportion of people experiencing back pain due to pathological reasons, in the larger majority, back pain is due to a mechanical cause. Taking a complete history that includes identifying risk factors such as depression, poor posture, lack of exercise, older age and a physically demanding job is crucial to the effective management of the condition. Behavioural, psychological and social factors of the patient should form the backbone for treatment of back pain. Non-pharmacological management such as exercise, spinal manipulation and acupuncture should be the first-line treatment; however, if this provides poor results then pharmacological measures such as the use of non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDS) like ibuprofen or muscle relaxants such as cyclobenzaprine should be considered.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)14-21
Number of pages8
JournalSouth African Family Practice
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 2018


  • Back pain
  • NSAIDs
  • Narcotics
  • Non-narcotics


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