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Education can change the world, can it change low back pain?

By Timothy Cocks Education for all 06 Nov 2019

Remember the Lancet Series? A series of three papers from a big collection of international researchers that caused a stir, questioned current approaches to treatment, and put low back pain in the media and on prime time TV? The final paper was a Call to action to move away from an over reliance on low value passive treatment including drugs, scans and surgery, and a move to education, evidence based reassurance and promotion of healthy activity.

The British Journal of Sports medicine has published a series of four editorials spotlighting the Lancet series and the final of these editorials focused on one of these key actions – education. Authored by Mary O’Keeffe, Peter O’Sullivan and Kieran O’Sullivan, the editorial has a snazzy title, is succinct and well written, provides four key messages that are immediately applicable, and contains a killer infographic from the emerging healthcare infographic king Kevin Wernli:

Click on image above to read the full text.

“Nelson Mandela asserted that ‘Education is the most powerful weapon you can use to change the world’ and education is recognised as the first line treatment for individuals with LBP. Education is a low-risk, low-cost intervention—the foundation for managing LBP. At the same time education’s modest effect size means it is not a panacea for the condition. In this editorial we aim to provide BJSM readers with a four-step accelerated and concise summary of how to use the education evidence to treat individuals with back pain.”

Click on image to read full text


Love that last point:

“Explore movements and valued activities through inquisitive, behavioural experimentation. Aim for fearless, thoughtless movements based on preference, cost and access”

Should be writ large on the walls of clinics everywhere.

Tim Cocks


Related ‘jams

Reflections on providing pain education

Integrating Explain Pain and Cognitive Functional Therapy in persistent low back pain

Scientific evidence behind Explain Pain Second Edition


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