What is the most effective treatment for acute low back pain?
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Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) are more effective than placebo for pain relief in patients with acute low back pain (grade of recommendation: A). There is no consistent evidence that NSAIDs are more effective than acetaminophen (grade: D). Muscle relaxants are effective for short-term relief of acute low back pain (grade: A), but there is no added benefit when they are used in combination with NSAIDs (grade: B). Advice to remain active speeds recovery compared with short-term bed rest (grade: A). There is no consistent evidence that epidural steroid injections are effective for acute low back pain (grade: D). Spinal manipulation or back exercises are no more effective than medications alone (grade: B).
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