Last month Jonathan, Naomi & Philippa ran a seminar in back pain management as part of the training of GP trainees at St James’ Hospital, Portsmouth. This is something Back2Health has been involved in providing since 2007.
Back pain can be worrying and can have a big impact on day-to-day life. Current reports from the World Health Organisation show that in Western Europe, low back pain is now the single largest cause of disability, affecting an estimated 9.8 million people (1). Across the world, low back pain is found to be the sixth biggest cause of years lost through either disability or death, having climbed five places in the last decade. These figures from the World Health Organisation suggest that current management approaches are failing to significantly impact on what is fast becoming one of the most burdensome diseases affecting humanity.
It is exciting to be provided with an opportunity to work first-hand with local GP’s to help address some of their concerns regarding management of low back pain. Work between professions is seen as important in ensuring patients receive the best care.
Studies have shown that 60% of patients only visit their GP once in relation to their lower back pain, but three months later, 25% of these patients continue to have persistent pain and are at high risk of developing a long-lasting disability. It is therefore important for GP’s to know when a patient’s back pain may require more specialist management, and we seek to help the GP’s identify who these patients are, and where they can be referred.
To help identify which patients would benefit from onward referral, the GP’s were taught a spinal screen to exclude specific causes of lower back pain, such as pathology. Jonathan also gave a talk which discussed ways in which we can better identify which patients are at risk of developing more chronic problems, and appropriate referral pathways for these “at risk” groups.
Our own research has shown that when we are able to identify these “at risk” patients, and provide care and advice sooner rather than later, they are significantly more likely to do well with the care we provide. By working more closely with local GP’s and healthcare providers, we are able to ensure that we are all providing our patients with the best possible care at the right time, which will help you recover more quickly from your back pain.
1) Vos, T et al. Years lived with disability (YLDs) for 1160 sequelae of 289 diseases and injuries 1990-2010: a systematic analysis for the Global Burden of Disease Study 2010. Lancet. 2013 Dec 15;380(9859):2163-96