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CSP welcomes new NICE guideline for low back pain

CSP press release published on 27 May 2009

The Chartered Society of Physiotherapy (CSP) welcomes the recommendations made in the new guidance from NICE about the treatment and care for people with persistent or recurrent low back pain.

Professor Ann Moore, Research Lead at the CSP said: 'Patient-centred care, supported by evidence-based information, is key to delivering quality services. With low back pain affecting 1 in 3 UK adults each year, this guideline will support physiotherapists and other healthcare professionals to provide the best care and advice to reduce the impact of the condition on patients' every-day lives.

'Physiotherapists have expertise in manual therapy, exercise prescription and in providing education and advice for musculoskeletal problems, and they are increasingly utilising acupuncture to help treat low back pain. As such, they are well placed to deliver the treatments recommended in the NICE guideline.

'The CSP is pleased that, combined with the benefits of self-referral to physiotherapy in the NHS, people will now have a choice of evidence based therapies and programmes and be able to access those services in order to best meet their needs.' Ends

Notes to Editors

For further information please call the CSP press office on 020 7306 1111 or on 07786 332 197.

  1. Low back pain (LBP) is not a homogenous condition; it can present in people with different levels of severity (for example, people who work and lead active lives, as well as people who are severely disabled or unable to work). LBP is very common in working-age adults (particularly between the ages of 40 and 60 years); a UK survey reported in 1998 that 40% of adults had suffered from LBP lasting longer than 1 day in the previous 12 months. Treating all types of back pain costs the NHS more than £1,000 million per year. In 1998 the direct healthcare costs of all back pain in the UK were estimated at £1623 million - approximately 35% of costs were related to services provided by the private sector. The costs of care for LBP exceed £500 million/year. Lost production as a result of LBP costs at least £3500 million/year.

    LBP results in many problems, including impaired quality of life, mobility and daily function; long-term morbidity; a higher risk of social exclusion through inability to work; reduced income; reliance on sickness benefits; and social isolation through disability. LBP represents a considerable burden to individuals, families, society and the economy (for example, loss of working days, and early retirement).

    Aims of interventions and therapies are to manage disability and pain, to help people to cope with day-to-day life, to reduce distress, to enable people to remain in or return to work, and to minimise risk of recurrence. This information can be found in the NICE documents, available on their website from Wednesday 27 May: www.nice.org.uk/cg88 . Free copies of the version for professionals and the version for patients, will also available by calling 0845 003 7783.

  2. Self-referral pilots have shown that people who self-refer to physiotherapy take fewer days off work and are 50% less likely to be off work for more than one month when compared with people referred via the more conventional route. (Self-referral pilots to musculoskeletal physiotherapy and the implications for improving access to other AHP services, DH, October 2008)
  3. The Chartered Society of Physiotherapy is the professional, educational and trade union body for the UK's 48,000 physiotherapists, physiotherapy students and assistants.

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