In February 2018 the World Health Organisation (WHO) reported that lower back pain is the single leading cause of disability globally. The following month, a group of international experts published a series of papers to raise awareness to the extent of the problem and provide evidence for recommended treatments.
The report contained a number of important findings, chief among which was a strong criticism of the widespread use of “inappropriate tests” and “unnecessary, ineffective and harmful treatments” to treat back pain. Rather than default to medicinal interventions, the experts championed “non-pharmacological treatment, including education that supports self-management and resumption of normal activities and exercise”.
Before we dive into how we have developed a back pain recovery plan to do just that, let’s first take a look at back pain as a whole, to understand why we are making it our next priority.
Non-specific lower back pain accounts for about 85-90% of all back pain. In official-speak, it is defined as lower back pain not attributable to a recognisable, known specific pathology (such as infection, tumour, osteoporosis, fracture, inflammatory disorder or neural impairment). Even though it’s something that doctors might struggle to put their finger on the cause of, it can be extremely distressing and debilitating, both physically and mentally.
Let’s now dive into some research about the different methods of assessment and treatment that you might have heard of. Despite how frequently they are used as a means of managing lower back pain, you might be surprised to learn that these are not supported by evidence.
At Reach, we do things a little bit differently to the (ineffective) things you’ve read above. You won’t find a stack of prescription pads lying around and we certainly won’t be sharpening any scalpels! We believe in being part of the solution to this global problem, by using an evidence-based approach to tackling back pain. Our team of expert physiotherapists work with the findings of the latest studies and worldwide guidelines to create personalised back pain recovery plans, helping you get back on the road to recovery.
Physio for back pain will be hitting the Reach Active app in February, but if you can’t wait to try it out, below is a first look at one of our back-pain recovery exercise videos. Follow us on Facebook or Instagram to access a recovery plan in full as soon as it’s live! Don’t miss out - your best self could be just a few short exercises away.
1. GBD 2016 Disease and Injury Incidence and Prevalence Collaborators. Global, regional, and national incidence, prevalence, and years lived with disability for 328 diseases and injuries for 195 countries, 1990-2016: a systematic analysis for the Global Burden of Disease Study 2016. Lancet. 2017 Sep 16;390(10100):1211–59
4. Airaksinen O, Brox JI, Cedraschi C, Hildebrandt J, Klaber-Moffett J, Kovacs F, et al. Chapter 4. European guidelines for the management of chronic nonspecific low back pain. Eur Spine J. 2006 Mar;15 Suppl 2:S192-300