Review decision: 

This guideline is currently being updated. Further information can be found on the low back pain (update) page.

This guideline is about the care and treatment that people who have persistent non-specific low back pain can expect from the NHS in England and Wales to help them manage their pain.

Non-specific low back pain is caused by problems with structures in the back, such as joints, discs, muscles, tendons or ligaments. The guideline covers the management of pain that has lasted for longer than 6 weeks but less than a year.

This guideline was previously called low back pain: early management of persistent non-specific low back pain.

Your responsibility

The recommendations in this guideline represent the view of NICE, arrived at after careful consideration of the evidence available. When exercising their judgement, professionals are expected to take this guideline fully into account, alongside the individual needs, preferences and values of their patients or service users. The application of the recommendations in this guideline is not mandatory and the guideline does not override the responsibility of healthcare professionals to make decisions appropriate to the circumstances of the individual patient, in consultation with the patient and/or their carer or guardian.

Local commissioners and/or providers have a responsibility to enable the guideline to be applied when individual health professionals and their patients or service users wish to use it. They should do so in the context of local and national priorities for funding and developing services, and in light of their duties to have due regard to the need to eliminate unlawful discrimination, to advance equality of opportunity and to reduce health inequalities. Nothing in this guideline should be interpreted in a way that would be inconsistent with compliance with those duties.

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