VA/DoD Clinical Practice Guideline: Diagnosis and Treatment of Low Back Pain

J Gen Intern Med. 2019 Nov;34(11):2620-2629. doi: 10.1007/s11606-019-05086-4. Epub 2019 Sep 16.


Description: In September 2017, the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) and U.S. Department of Defense (DoD) approved the joint Clinical Practice Guideline (CPG) for Diagnosis and Management of Low Back Pain. This CPG was intended to provide healthcare providers a framework by which to evaluate, treat, and manage patients with low back pain (LBP).

Methods: The VA/DoD Evidence-Based Practice Work Group convened a joint VA/DoD guideline development effort that included a multidisciplinary panel of practicing clinician stakeholders and conformed to the Institute of Medicine's tenets for trustworthy clinical practice guidelines. The guideline panel developed key questions in collaboration with the ECRI Institute, which systematically searched and evaluated the literature through September 2016, developed an algorithm, and rated recommendations by using the GRADE (Grading of Recommendations Assessment, Development and Evaluation) system. A patient focus group was also convened to ensure patient values and perspectives were considered when formulating preferences and shared decision making in the guideline.

Recommendations: The VA/DOD LBP CPG provides evidence-based recommendations for the diagnostic approach, education and self-care, non-pharmacologic and non-invasive therapy, pharmacologic therapy, dietary supplements, non-surgical invasive therapy, and team approach to treatment of low back pain.

Keywords: Veteran; acute low back pain; chronic back pain; lumbago; military; radiculopathy; sciatica.

Publication types

  • Validation Study

MeSH terms

  • Humans
  • Low Back Pain / diagnosis
  • Low Back Pain / therapy*
  • Military Personnel
  • Practice Guidelines as Topic / standards*
  • United States
  • United States Department of Defense
  • United States Department of Veterans Affairs
  • Veterans