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Digital therapy service could be ‘missing link’ in treating back pain

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A new digital treatment programme is helping patients with back pain make “large strides” in their recovery within weeks.  

Almost half of UK patients using a new digital treatment programme to manage their back pain have reported seeing a 30 percent improvement within 14 days.

Founded by two registered osteopaths, BackPain.online is said to be cheaper and more effective than regular visits to a chiropractor, physio or osteopath – and could be a much-needed solution for patients who can’t afford or don’t have access to private healthcare.

Patients are required to complete a short online consultation and following guidelines set out by NICE (National Institute for Health and Care Excellence) BackPain delivers a personalised back pain therapy programme.

The programme, which was offered to people for free during lockdown, provides easy-to-follow videos explaining the injury, offering tips and advice as well as corrective exercises, including topics such as when and how to apply heat or ice and demystifying common back conditions.

In a survey of those using BackPain, 44% reported feeling that they were ‘moving better’ by day 14, having followed the rehab programme.

Co-founder and osteopath, Toby Pollard-Smith said: “During lockdown people were seeing 30% improvement within 14 days, and some of those came from quite shocking starting points.

“We think that’s just through sensible education and some good advice.”

Figures from the NHS show around 80 percent of people will be affected by back pain during their lifetime.

While there is no substitute for seeing patients in person, Toby believes the service has a vital role to play in educating them about their condition and helping get them started in their recovery.

“There’s a massive missing link with musculoskeletal health care,” he continued.

“There’s very good private health care in the UK but it’s not cheap and while the NHS are heroes, even before COVID the waiting lists were pretty long and they’re only going to get longer.”

He added: “There is no substitute for seeing someone face to face but for those who can’t physically or financially access it, this is a good stepping stone, where they would otherwise be left sitting on a 12 week-plus waiting list getting progressively worse, when they could be making large strides in their recovery.”

The programme is also being marketed to insurance companies and businesses to help improve the wellbeing of their staff, particularly those employing manual workers.

“Workers are a precious resource nowadays and companies need to be a bit more forthright about keeping their workforce fit, well and happy,” said Toby.

“The programme could help companies cut the number of days off with back pain and help people cope better and be more productive and one of the big benefits, is that they can offer something to their staff which is completely anonymous.”

There are two ways to access the therapy: a one-off 60-day course, or a monthly subscription with videos sent to the patient on a weekly basis.

For more information visit BackPain.online



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