(CBS News) Many Americans experiencing back pain do not receive recommended treatments, according to the results of a report published by JAMA Internal Medicine.
"The study tells us that we're not getting the recommended treatments... If you have back pain, it should be treated simply with simple drugs," said Dr. Norman Marcus, Director of Muscle Pain Research at New York University School of Medicine.
Across the nation, 80 percent of people suffer from back pain at some point in their lives. Researchers from Harvard Medical School tracked the treatment of back pain between 1999 and 2010, and their results indicated that many treatments are actually inconsistent with clinical guidelines.
Yet, over the course of ten years, narcotic treatments have increased 10 percent, MRIs grew five percent, and referrals to specialists rose seven percent. The use of opioids also became more frequent.
These solutions are shadowing simpler, potentially more effective treatments, says Dr. Marcus.
Marcus advised people to "stay under the care of your family doctor." Patients who see a specialist could end up receiving "elaborate" treatments that show abnormal results.
"If you get an MRI, I guarantee you it's going to be abnormal. 40 percent of people on the street with no pain have herniated discs. 70 percent have degenerated discs, with no pain, " explained Marcus.