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Can Early Physio Treatment Help Back Pain

Low back pain affects up to 80% of people at some point in their lives. Pain can range from a short-term dull ache to recurring chronic pain. A recent study by the University of Gothenburg has shown that immediate treatment by a Chartered Physiotherapist, bypassing a waiting list, can reduce problems with recurring low back pain.

The study examined 60 patients with low back pain for 3-12 weeks who had been given the option of going straight to a physiotherapist, with or without a referral from a doctor. The effect of receiving an examination and treatment within 48 hours was subsequently evaluated compared to being on a waiting list for four weeks before receiving the same treatment.

Lena Nordeman, a Chartered Physiotherapist and researcher at the Sahlgrenska Academy explains, “I wanted to find out whether patients’ low back pain could be alleviated in the long run if primary care clinics could offer examinations and treatment by a physiotherapist without any delay in the form of a doctor’s referral or waiting list.”

While the results indicated an improvement after treatment in both groups, the group that had been given early access to an examination and individualised treatment maintained their improvement after six months, whereas the group on the waiting list were more likely to suffer with recurring back pain.

With over half of people suffering from back pain becoming long-term chronic sufferers, often work, everyday and leisure activities are limited to varying degrees. Given that long-term pain often requires extensive treatment, it is important that the pain be treated at an early stage. The results of this study clearly indicate that early examination and treatment by a Chartered Physiotherapist are important for reducing low back pain in the long term.

Source: University of Gothenburg

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