Non-Specific Low Back Pain

Dtsch Arztebl Int. 2017 Dec 25;114(51-52):883-890. doi: 10.3238/arztebl.2017.0883.


Background: For many years, low back pain has been both the leading cause of days lost from work and the leading indication for medical rehabilitation. The goal of the German Disease Management Guideline (NDMG) on nonspecific low back pain is to improve the treatment of patients with this condition.

Methods: The current update of the NDMG on non-specific low back pain is based on articles retrieved by a systematic search of the literature for systematic reviews. Its recommendations for diagnosis and treatment were developed by a collaborative effort of 29 scientific medical societies and organizations and approved in a formal consensus process.

Results: If the history and physical examination do not arouse any suspicion of a dangerous underlying cause, no further diagnostic evaluation is indicated for the time being. Passive, reactive measures should be taken only in combination with activating measures, or not at all. When drugs are used for symptomatic treatment, patients should be treated with the most suitable drug in the lowest possible dose and for as short a time as possible.

Conclusion: A physician should be in charge of the overall care process. The patient should be kept well informed over the entire course of his or her illness and should be encouraged to adopt a healthful lifestyle, including regular physical exercise.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Exercise Therapy
  • Germany
  • Humans
  • Low Back Pain* / diagnosis
  • Low Back Pain* / etiology
  • Low Back Pain* / therapy
  • Lumbar Vertebrae
  • Practice Guidelines as Topic*
  • Prospective Studies