BBC explores Active Back Programme

BBC explores Active Back Programme

An RNOH programme, which aims to empower people with chronic back pain, will be the focus of BBC Radio 4's Case Notes.

The two-year multidisciplinary Active Back Programme aims to treat patients with severe and resistant chronic back pain who have not responded to treatment.

It moves away from seeking a medical cure or reduction in pain intensity, focusing instead on self-management through education sessions, tailored exercises, psychological support and practical coping and problem-solving strategies.

Dr Jan Gawronski, Spinal Rehabilitation Consultant said: "Around one third of the UK adult population suffer from back pain each year and a small proportion develop chronic pain and disability.

"The Active Back Programme works with patients to help them to self-manage their condition. We have seen great results, for example, more than half of patients on long term sick-leave return to work and the majority of patients struggling to continue working are able to do so."

Programme aims:

  • Decrease the effects of pain
  • Increase physical fitness
  • Restore confidence in performing activities that patients enjoy
  • Improve the patients' understanding of how to manage back pain
  • Improve the patients' quality of life
  • Enable patients to manage their back problem independently

Radio 4's Case Notes has dedicated one of its programmes to the Active Back Programme, which will be broadcast on Tuesday, 2 February, at 21.00 and repeated on Wednesday, 3 February, at 16.30.

Patients who are referred onto the programme generally stay in a nearby hotel and attend sessions Monday to Friday from 09.00 to 17.00 and go home at the weekends.

There are four follow-up sessions with the therapist during the two years and patients' progress is evaluated. For patients with a very significant psychosocial or physical impairment, a referral to the inpatient Pain Management Programme can be made.

For further information download: A Patient's Guide to the Active Back Programme.
Or visit: The Active Back Programme page.

How to get referred to the Active Back Programme
Your doctor can make a referral to:

Dr Jan Gawronski
Integrated Back Unit
Royal National Orthopaedic Hospital
Brockley Hill
Telephone: 020 3947 0100

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