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Public wrong about back pain, survey finds

A survey has revealed widespread public ignorance over the best ways to treat back pain.

The UK-wide survey of 1,000 people aged 25-65 with back pain found that more than a third (35 per cent) thought that bed rest was the best remedy.

Three out of four people did not seek advice about musculoskeletal problems, mistakenly believing they needed a GP referral to see a physiotherapist.

The majority (89.5 per cent) said they were reluctant to consult a physiotherapist, only six per cent in the study used them, with 42 per cent saying pain stopped them from exercising as much as they would like.

Younger people were more likely to visit a physiotherapist, with one in five going for treatment compared with one in seven over-40s.

The survey was conducted by a panel of health professionals on behalf of health insurance provider Simplyhealth.

While many (90.1 per cent) are aware that exercises such as swimming, yoga and pilates can help with muscle and joint pain, more than half admitted to doing nothing to help their musculoskeletal health.

The survey was conducted by a panel of health professionals on behalf of health insurance provider Simplyhealth.

Steve Tolan, CSP professional adviser, said many physiotherapists would recognise the misconceptions highlighted by the survey.

‘The natural instinct to rest when in pain is actually a false instinct in many circumstances, particularly in relation to back and neck pain.

We welcome the report and recognise that fear of movement or activity is a precipitating factor in many cases.

Patients need early access to physiotherapy to achieve the best possible outcomes,’ he said.

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