New Tool to Support Clinical Decision Making for Low Back Pain.

Back Pain Choices

The National Prescribing Service (NPS) and the George Institute for Global Health in Australia have jointly launched a new decision support tool, Back Pain Choices, to assist primary care clinicians diagnose and manage back pain in line with best practice guidelines.

Back Pain Choices — synthesises recommendations from evidence-based practice guidelines in Australia, the UK and USA into a unified set of recommendations. It also incorporates individual patient preferences for assessments and treatments so by the end of the consultation the patient has an individually tailored management plan and/or information sheet.

Back Pain Choices steps health professionals through the process of examining, diagnosing and treating low back pain. The tool works as a communication mechanism that can be used to engage patients in discussion of low back pain treatment options. By taking this approach, both GPs and patients are made aware of the treatment options available and together they can decide on the most suitable treatment option.

The tool has been developed to assist in the diagnosis and management of lower back pain (LBP) by primary care clinicians.  It is a distillation of the recommendations from evidence-based clinical practice guidelines produced by Australia’s National Health and Medical Research Council, The United Kingdom’s National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence, and the guideline jointly produced by the American Pain Society and American College of Physicians.  The tool provides guidance on how to manage lower back pain in primary care and allows you to produce a tailored patient information sheet by selecting only the treatment advice you would like included.

It has certainly created some discussion amongst the international pain management community on the Body in Mind website where it has recently been highlighted.  Perhaps you have an opinion on this tool, and the current trend in the development of other similar tools, we’d like to hear from you with your thoughts.

The Back Pain Choices tool is now available free on the NPS website at

Other FREE clinical decision making tools available on Physiopedia:

Manual Therapy and Exercise for Neck Pain: Clinical Treatment Tool-kit

Achilles Tendinopathy Toolkit