A third of GPs cannot provide alternative treatment for back pain

18th May 2011

One in three GPs are unable to offer patients alternative treatments for back pain such as acupuncture, massage and manipulation, a new survey has shown.

The NHS has officially sanctioned the use of these alternative therapies, but a third of GPs told a survey by integrated healthcare body the College of Medicine that they were unable to prescribe the treatments, the Daily Mail reported.

Guidelines by the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE) state that people with chronic back pain can opt for a three-moth course of acupuncture for treatment, and go for other options if the first does not work.

The changes were billed as a big change for sufferers of back pain, but the news provider reported that the survey showed that change was still needed.

Dr Michael Dixon, chairman of the College of Medicine, said: "Absenteeism costs this country millions if not billions every year. By employing accredited techniques, GPs could help reduce these statistics and that is vital, particularly at a time when the nation itself is on its knees because of the financial crisis."

Back pain can be caused by sciatica, a slipped disk or ankylosing spondylitis, as well as by specific injuries.

Posted by Jeanette Royston

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