oa South African Family Practice - In this CPD issue : CPD editorial

Volume 53, Issue 4
  • ISSN : 2078-6190
  • E-ISSN: 2078-6204



This edition of is, as usual, packed with interesting articles. The first is the 15th in the series on healthy lifestyle interventions in general practice, and focuses on lower back pain (LBP). LBP is one of the most common medical problems in the adult population, with an estimated lifetime prevalence of 70-85% and a peak onset at age 30-40 years. In the majority of cases, the cause of LBP cannot be attributed to anything specific, although the condition is largely a result of lumbar sprain or strain. Unfortunately, there are little data on the epidemiology of LBP in Africa and, more particularly, in South Africa. This is an indication that there is a need to prioritise epidemiological studies on LBP. The general approach to the diagnosis of LBP, as suggested by the authors, involves focused identification of possible "red flags" that may indicate more serious underlying causes, such as malignancy and infections. The routine use of special investigations, such as MRI and CT, for the diagnosis of non-specific LBP is not recommended. The nonpharmacological management of LBP includes exercise, psychosocial and behavioural intervention, and therapeutic education. This article is worth reading, as it provides a practical framework for the management of LBP.

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