Context: Low back pain is one of the most common medical presentations in the general population. It is a common source of pain in athletes, leading to significant time missed and disability. The general categories of treatment for low back pain are medications and therapies.Evidence acquisition: Relevant studies were identified through a literature search of MEDLINE and the Cochrane Database from 1990 to 2010. A manual review of reference lists of identified sources was also performed.Results: It is not clear whether athletes experience low back pain more often than the general public. Because of a aucity of trials with athlete-specific populations, recommendations on treatments must be made from reviews of treatments for the general population. Several large systemic reviews and Cochrane reviews have compiled evidence on different modalities for low back pain. Superficial heat, spinal manipulation, nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory medications, and skeletal muscle relaxants have the strongest evidence of benefit.Conclusions: Despite the high prevalence of low back pain and the significant burden to the athletes, there are few clearly superior treatment modalities. Superficial heat and spinal manipulation therapy are the most strongly supported evidence-based therapies. Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory medications and skeletal muscle relaxants have benefit in the initial management of low back pain; however, both have considerable side effects that must be considered. Athletes can return to play once they have recovered full range of motion and have the strength to prevent further injury.
- low back pain
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Orthopedics and Sports Medicine
- Physical Therapy, Sports Therapy and Rehabilitation