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MRIs, opiates, and complicated surgeries: Are we over-treating back problems?




Doctors often prescribe powerful and addictive narcotics unnecessarily for back pain.
Doctors often prescribe powerful and addictive narcotics unnecessarily for back pain.
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A recent study by researchers at Harvard University found that doctors are increasingly eschewing best practices when treating those suffering from back pain. More and more, doctors are referring patients to surgery, suggesting expensive and potentially dangerous tests, and prescribing powerful pain medication, when most know that back pain is most effectively treated with ice, rest, rehabilitation, and over-the-counter anti-inflammatory drugs like ibuprofen. Back pain is an $86 billion business in the United States, and a better understanding of how we’re treating back pain and why could lead to cost savings as well as cutting the risk of unnecessary prescriptions and surgeries.

Why are doctors over-prescribing a cure for something sufferers know has no quick fix? Do you suffer from back pain? How do you handle it?

Guest:

Dr. John Mafi, M.D. , lead author of the study “Worsening Trends in the Management and Treatment of Back Pain” published in JAMA, the journal of the American Medical Association