Low back pain is very common. About 80% of people will suffer an episode of back pain in their lifetime, and the majority of these disorders will resolve. The problem is when these episodes do not resolve in the expected healing time and become chronic. Only 15% of chronic low back pain disorders show up on scans and x-rays, which means 85% of patients have no known diagnosis for their problem. A classification of ‘non-specific chronic low back pain’ is given to their problem which makes diagnosis and management very difficult.
Thanks to the pioneering work of Professor Peter O’Sullivan from Perth, Australia, and his team of international collaborators, groundbreaking research into the targeted approach for the treatment of persistent low back pain has taken place over the last 10 years. The term Cognitive Functional Therapy (CFT) has been coined to describe this research and introduction into the clinical setting. The results of recent random-controlled trials in Norway, Ireland and currently Perth/Sydney, comparing CFT with conventional physiotherapy treatment is revealing extremely promising results in favour of the CFT approach in patients with complex and highly debilitating low back and pelvic pain. Other considerations such as genetic, physical, social, psychological and patho-anatomical factors are considered when using this approach to treat chronic low back pain.
My postgraduate physiotherapy training has given me many different treatment and management options that can be applied to various spinal pain disorders. My clinical ethos is to identify the underlying mechanism of the painful disorder, then prescribe targeted and functional exercises to re-build the blocks of normal movement to restore confidence and trust with every day activities and tasks.