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Improving outcomes for chronic low back pain: a fresh perspective

30th Oct, 2023

Key Points:

  1. The understanding of chronic low back pain (CLBP) is rapidly evolving thanks to advances in research and technology.
  2. Despite the progress, long-term self-management programs for CLBP have not shown consistent effectiveness.
  3. A patient-centred, long-term approach emphasising self-management, patient preference, and consistent follow-ups could be the future solution for CLBP.

Evolution of chronic low back pain treatment in Singapore

Chronic low back pain in Singapore is far too common. Ask your Auntie or Uncle or anyone in your family! There is sure to be someone who has or had a bout of low back pain! For anyone who has suffered or knows someone who has endured chronic low back pain (CLBP), the idea of a potential breakthrough in treatment is truly thrilling. It’s not just about popping a painkiller. With the wonders of neuroimaging and our expanded knowledge of molecular events associated with back pain, the puzzle is beginning to fit together. These new perspectives are shaping how Physiotherapists, like us in Singapore, view and treat CLBP.

Physiotherapy for low back pain?

Can Physiotherapy have with low back pain? Certainly, Physiotherapy offers a holistic approach to managing CLBP. It combines manual therapy, exercises, and patient education to alleviate pain and prevent future occurrences. This combination helps improve mobility, strengthen back muscles, and teaches patients how to maintain a healthier back. 

At The Rehab Centre, we don’t take short cuts. Using machines doesn’t give you any long term relief from your low back pain. Beyond just treating the pain, Physiotherapy at The Rehab Centre aims to address the root cause and empower you to take charge of their health.

if you understand what is going on, we believe it will help you manage the pain better! 

The historical approach: is it working?

Traditionally, if you had CLBP and visited a Physiotherapist, you’d likely be handed a “home program” upon discharge. These routines often combined general exercises, spine-specific tasks, and a hearty dose of advice on maintaining proper body mechanics. Sounds good in theory, right?

“However, the sad reality is that despite completing these programs, many patients see their improvements fade in the long run. This implies that while the current interventions might provide short-term relief, they might not be the golden ticket for long-term benefits.”

The challenge of self-management

Now, recent findings have hinted at a discouraging truth: traditional self-management methods for CLBP may not be doing the trick. But why? Well, the answer might lie in the commitment of the patients themselves.

Firstly, for a treatment to be effective in the long run, patients need to see self-management not just as an afterthought but as a primary treatment goal. This mindset needs to be instilled from the start. The patient’s role in managing their health, from exercises to making healthier lifestyle choices (like quitting smoking or opting for a balanced diet), is vital. 

“Let’s put it in terms you understand: Physiotherapy sessions are like tuition classes. You attend classes to learn; but you cannot expect the teacher to complete your work for you to pass your exams!”

Moreover, the personal preferences of patients should take the front seat. If they’re more inclined towards yoga than core exercises, then maybe that’s the path to tread. After all, a happy patient is more likely to stick to the program.

Lastly, the journey with your physiotherapist shouldn’t end with just a few sessions. Periodic “tune-ups” or follow-ups can play a pivotal role in adjusting the treatment plan based on the patient’s evolving symptoms.

Reimagining the role of Physiotherapists

The way we see it, Physiotherapists have an opportunity here to redefine their roles. From being mere treatment providers, they can evolve into long-term partners in a patient’s health journey. This might not only decrease the overall healthcare usage but could also offer better health outcomes and improved patient satisfaction.

See us as your cheerleaders! It’s funny to say this but we don’t wish to see the same names pop up in our computer screens! It means we have not done our work well to help you stay out of trouble! 

We hope that we can help you with your low back pain, understand why you’re here and understand what needs to be done to address the pains. 

The Rehab Centre: partners to your recovery

While it’s evident that no one-size-fits-all solution exists for CLBP, a more patient-centric, enduring approach might be the change we’ve been waiting for. Such an approach could lead to not just managing symptoms but truly enhancing the quality of life for CLBP patients.

Feel inspired by this fresh perspective on treating CLBP? Have any queries or wish to delve deeper into the topic? Contact us today! Our Physiotherapists are always here to help, listen, and guide you towards a pain-free future. Consider also doing Pilates for your low back pain! 

REF: Beattie et. al. Improving Long-Term Outcomes for Chronic Low Back Pain: Time for a New Paradigm? J Orthop Sports Phys Ther 2015;45(4):236-239. doi:10.2519/jospt.2015.0105

ACL Injuries in Singapore

Do I need an opeation for my ACL tear?

What are the common causes of ACL injuries in Singapore?

In Singapore, common causes of ACL injuries include sports activities like football and basketball, accidents, and falls.

Do all ACL injuries require surgery in Singapore?

No, not all ACL injuries in Singapore require surgery. Nonoperative treatments have been successful, as shown in studies, especially for patients who meet specific criteria like minimal instability and good function. Your Physiotherapist will be able to discuss and work with you to help return you to sport. 

What are the success rates of ACL surgery in Singapore?

The success rates of ACL surgery are influenced by several factors, including the patient's pre-injury activity level, age, and individual preferences. The article indicates that successful nonoperative treatments can yield similar outcomes to surgery in some cases.

How can I prevent ACL injuries?

Preventing ACL injuries in Singapore involves exercises to strengthen the leg muscles i.e. your quadriceps, hamstrings and calf muscles as well as practising proper techniques during sports. Injury prevention is crucial, considering the impact on productivity and healthcare costs, as mentioned in the article. Consider speaking to our Physiotherapist to find out how to you prevent an ACL injury. 

What are the key factors to consider when deciding on ACL surgery?

Deciding on ACL surgery involves evaluating factors like the patient's pre-injury activity level, fear of not returning to previous sports levels, clinical knee instability test outcomes, age, and individual preferences. The article suggests that identifying prognostic factors early after an ACL injury is essential for determining the need for surgical reconstruction.

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