Author(s): Wheeler AH
Acute low back pain with associated sciatica is usually a benign, self-limited disorder. Appropriate medical treatment may include passive forms of physical therapy, including McKenzie exercises, manipulation, medication and therapeutic injections. After pain is controlled, the patient should be taught self-management techniques, including exercises and ergonomic protection of the spine. Evidence is increasing that exercise programs are effective, although the optimal regimen has yet to be defined and may vary from patient to patient. Chronic low back pain is a complex disorder that must be managed aggressively with a multidisciplinary approach that addresses physical, psychologic and socioeconomic aspects of the illness. Self-administered traction, corsets, medications and other treatment methods may prove to be useful adjuncts to an active program of exercise and education that promotes functional restoration.