I recently attended a course in Adelaide called The Cognitive Functional Approach to the Management of Low Back Pain. The course presenter was Professor Peter O’Sullivan who is recognised internationally as one of the leading clinicians, researchers and educators in the management of complex musculoskeletal pain disorders. Peter has also published more than 100 research papers and been a keynote speaker at more than 60 national and international conferences.
Physio Treatment of Low Back Pain
The majority of the weekend was spent looking at how we as physiotherapists assess, treat and manage patients with chronic low back pain. There is a significant proportion of people that have been shown not to respond to “traditional” physiotherapy such as massage, manipulation and joint mobilisation and consequently have poor long term outcomes. The emphasis of the course was asking why these people get stuck in a cycle of pain and disability which doesn’t necessarily correlate with tissue damage or injury. The best form of treatment in this case is taking a holistic approach by getting to know a person’s beliefs about their back pain, lifestyle factors such as general exercise and sleep patterns, social factors, work factors and then looking at re-educating and empowering with exercises and correct knowledge around their condition.
Exercises and Education are Key
Peter O’Sullivan’s ideas behind treatment are not too dissimilar to our rationale of teach exercises first then focus on passive therapy second. Education is also highly important in empowering the patient to be able to better manage their back problems. There is a lot of misinformation on chronic back pain. If you are a chronic back pain sufferer I highly recommend you visit the website below which Peter has created to help set straight some of the very common beliefs amongst society that can be potentially harmful to one’s recovery.