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Immediate treatment can alleviate future back problems
Date:4/18/2011

Immediate treatment by a physiotherapist, bypassing a waiting list, can reduce problems with recurring low back pain, reveals a thesis from the University of Gothenburg, Sweden.

Many people suffer with low back pain, and most get better. However, those who suffer with long-term pain can find that their 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.

"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," says Lena Nordeman, a registered physiotherapist and researcher at the Sahlgrenska Academy.

As part of her thesis, she therefore carried out a study in a same-day appointment model with 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.

60 patients with low back pain for 3-12 weeks took part in the study, which was carried out in primary health care in Sdra lvsborg, south-west Sweden.

"We saw that both groups improved after the treatment ended. The group that had been given early access to an examination and individualised treatment maintained their improvement after six months, while the group that had been held on a waiting list were more likely to suffer with recurring back pain," says Nordeman, who draws the conclusion that early examination and treatment by a physiotherapist as soon as a patient asks for care could be important for reducing low back pain in the long term.

Her thesis also included an investigation of 130 women who had suffered with low back pain for more than th
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Contact: Lena Nordeman
lena.nordeman@vgregion.se
46-070-171-4463
University of Gothenburg
Source:Eurekalert

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