Back Pain

Over 80% of adults suffer from back pain at some point in their lifetime. Audrey Long, a Calgary researcher is gaining international attention for her innovative study on a proven and effective way to treat back pain.

Answers for Back Pain Found in New Study

Calgary, AB – Eighty percent of adults will experience back pain in their lifetime. Calgary researcher and physical therapist, Audrey Long has received international attention by demonstrating that “one size does not fit all” when prescribing exercises for low back pain. Her study “Does it matter which exercise?” demonstrates that the wrong exercises can hinder recovery; while the right ones can enhance pain reduction and recovery of function.

Previous studies have stated that there has not been enough evidence favoring certain exercises over others therefore, international guidelines simply recommend advice to stay active. Although activity is typically painful, the new study shows that if certain movements can cause pain, other movements can also relieve pain. The fault in most prior studies was the assumption that most back pain is “non specific”. The trend was to prescribe the same exercises to all patients in the group studied.

The key feature of the new study is 30-45 minute individual assessments. “A skilled assessment makes all the difference,” says Long. Those likely to benefit start seeing results in the first session with highly significant pain reduction in back and leg pain within four visits. It does not take weeks of exercise to see the results in pain reduction and the techniques and exercises taught in the assessments are tools that patients take away with them and can treat their own pain. The ultimate goal is that the clients become independent and can both prevent and self treat recurrences. This will minimize the need to see the health care provider, which saves the patient time and money in the long run.

Part two of the study, released by Long in June 2005 at an international conference in Greece, shows that if patients were originally prescribed ineffective exercises, this assessment can lead to a change in the exercise prescription that can reverse the poor result and bring significant pain relief in an average of four visits. Co-author of the study, orthopedic surgeon Ron Donelson, says, “It is no longer appropriate to say that this exercise is good for a bad back, the key is to skillfully assign the right exercise to the right patient”. Many Alberta physical therapists are trained to conduct this form of assessment and more information can be found at www.McKenziemdt.org

Contact Information
Audrey Long
BScPT, Dip MDT
Bonavista Physical Therapy
739 Lake Bonavista Dr. S.E.
Calgary, Alberta
Phone: (403) 278-0705
Email: bonavistaphysio@telus.net
Website: www.McKenziemdt.org

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