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WHO LBP Guidance


Low back pain (LBP) in the leading cause of disability globally. In 2020, approximately 1 in 13 people, equating to 619 million, experienced LBP, a 60% increase from 1990. 

With such a prevalence, we thought you may like to know what the WHO say about this growing problem, in releasing their first ever guidelines on managing chronic LBP. 


Firstly, what is chronic LBP?  

This refers to pain lasting for more than 3 months that is not due to an underlying disease or other condition. 


So what does the guidance say? 

The WHO recommends non-surgical interventions, including: 

  • Education programs supporting knowledge & self-care strategies 

  • Exercise programs 

  • Physical therapies such as spinal mobilisation & massage 

  • Psychological therapies such as CBT 

  • Medicines such as non-steroidal ant-inflammatories (NSAIDs) 

They advise against interventions such as: 

  • Back braces/belts/supports 

  • Traction therapy 

  • Opioid pain relief such as codeine 


So there is good & bad news here… 

Bad news in that LBP is very a very common condition experienced by most people at some point in their life. 


Good news in that Harbourside Physiotherapy is able to help! We routinely offer the advised non-surgical interventions, including regular liaison with GP’s about the ones out of our remit, whilst advising against the remainder. 


With many years of experience throughout the team of managing this condition, we realise that ‘addressing chronic LBP requires an integrated, person-centred approach, considering each person’s unique situation and the factors that might influence their pain experience’ (WHO, 2024). 


Want to know more? 


Visit WHO guidlines Here


Contact Harbourside Physiotherapy today to get yourself booked in for an assessment.


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