Low back pain (LBP) is the leading cause of disability worldwide and remains a significant global public health concern.
It is estimated that up to 80 percent of adults have lower back pain at some time in their lives, which only keeps increasing with age.
Unfortunately, there is no cure for chronic pain
Physical therapy is often one of the best choices for chronic pain but not all back pain resolves with it.
Australian researchers have found a new treatment known as cognitive functional therapy (CFT)
CFT is an individualized treatment approach that targets unhelpful pain-related cognitions, emotions, and behaviors that contribute to pain and disability.
Developed by Professor Peter O’Sullivan from Perth’s Curtin School of Allied Health, Australia, CFT takes a physical and psychological approach. It arms chronic pain suffers with the tools to confidently manage their condition and the skills to move in ways that reduce disability.
In a clinical trial of nearly 500 chronic back pain sufferers across 20 physiotherapy practices, significant improvements in the intensity of pain and pain-related disability were noticed.
“This new treatment takes on board the individual characteristics of the person who has been living with chronic back pain by addressing their concerns and movement limitations under the skilled guidance of a trained physiotherapist,” said O’Sullivan. “This differs from traditional, more passive approaches – including massage, spinal manipulation, medication, and injections – because it puts the person in charge of their condition, helping them to understand the factors contributing to their pain, building control and confidence in their body to get back to valued activities.
“It was particularly rare and thrilling to discover that the significant reduction in pain and distress that these people living with chronic back pain experienced had remained right up to one year,” he added.
According to the study from researchers at Curtin, Monash, and Macquarie universities in Australia, more than 80% of patients who received CFT noticed significant improvements in the intensity of pain and pain-related disability apart from the psychological benefits of being empowered to move with newfound confidence.