Guidelines to ease back pain released


New Delhi : In what may come as a much needed relief for the millions of Indians who suffer with back pain everyday, a set of guidelines on its management was released in the capital by a group of doctors.

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A joint initiative of the Indian Society for the Study of Pain (ISSP) and the Brufen Foundation, the guidelines were released Tuesday and will help doctors from diverse backgrounds to follow a uniform procedure of treating a patient, an official said.

“The 30-page algorithm has a step by step guidance for doctors. It starts with the careful clinical assessment of the patient followed by a diagnosis for pain,” said K.J. Choudhury, senior consultant of pain management at Indraprastha Apollo Hospital.

“If a specific cause is not identified, then symptomatic treatment comes in which implies that the patient is either to be put on medication, bed rest or physical activity is encouraged. If the pain is severe, or if there is a serious underlying disease such as cancer, a spine surgeon is to be consulted,” Choudhury added.

Experts believe that the protocols could not have come at a better time. Estimates say that more than a third of India’s population suffers from chronic back pain.

“Back pain is an important but small component of the much bigger ‘chronic pain’ problem in India. According to experts, every fifth adult in the world suffers from chronic pain…add to this the incidences of arthritis, neuropathic and spinal pains and also headaches and migraines, and you have a whole country in pain,” said ISSP president P.N. Jain.

Guidelines for knee pain, headaches, neck and joint pain and pain related to cancer or trauma are expected to be released soon.