Telephone coaching can increase activity levels for people with non-chronic low back pain: a randomised controlled trial

Hanging telephones

In my last blog I emphasised the importance of addressing recovery expectations during treatment sessions with individuals with low back pain (LBP) and highlighted a simple screening instrument. However, the question remains, if a person has ‘low scoring’ recovery expectations how can we go about helping them? With that question in mind, I was delighted [read the full story…]

Recovery expectations predict absence from work due to chronic low back pain: a systematic review

Job satisfaction

In the low back pain (LBP) research there has been quite an interest in recent years as to which psychosocial factors are the most predictive of a poor outcome, both in terms of activity limitations and work absence. A systematic review by Iles et al (2009) showed that recovery expectations measured within three weeks of the onset [read the full story…]

The effectiveness of graded activity in patients with non-specific low-back pain: a systematic review

Man running up gradients

Today sees the opening of the Physiotherapy UK Conference, which is the Chartered Society of Physiotherapy’s new flagship annual event. Unsurprisingly, the programme in the musculoskeletal theme contains several presentations related to back pain. Seeing as this is still back pain week, I thought that I would continue from my previous blog about Yellow Flags and focus [read the full story…]

Targeted interventions for Yellow Flags in persistent low back pain: a systematic review

Target man

Seeing as it is World Mental Health Day today, with its theme “Depression: a Global Crisis”, I thought that it would be appropriate to blog on psychosocial rather than physical interventions; particularly as persistent non-specific low back pain (NSLBP) can result in heightened anxiety, stress and depression. Furthermore, there is an increasing body of evidence that psychosocial risk [read the full story…]

Systematic review of the global prevalence of low back pain

Global people

Many of my Musculoskeletal Elf colleagues make their livelihood from building and constructing; therefore, I was quite excited to see that the focus of this year’s National Back Pain week in the UK is on “Builders’ Backs”. According to the statistics in the campaign pack by BackCare (the UK’s National Pack Pain Association) 30,000 UK construction workers [read the full story…]

Clinical screening tests for assessing movement control in low-back pain: a systematic review


Today is the final day of the International Federation of Orthopaedic Manipulative Therapists (IFOMPT) Conference in Quebec, Canada. The conference includes presentations from international experts on a wide array of issues related to clinical assessment and treatment. In a previous blog I looked at an article on whether or not  individuals’ movement patterns can be altered as [read the full story…]

Effectiveness of self-management of low back pain: systematic review with meta-analysis

you can do it

This week in Scotland has been designated as self-management week. There is a growing awareness that low back pain (LBP) is a long term condition and that self-management can decrease the burden of this, and many other, conditions. To date, self-management has been described as a model of care where patients use strategies to manage and monitor [read the full story…]

Risk Factors for the Onset of Nonspecific Low Back Pain in Office Workers: A Systematic Review

Woman at computer

Although most Musculoskeletal Elves lead very physically active lives there are a small minority of Elves who are office based. Occasionally I hear them complain of episodes of low back pain and they have enquired of me as to what contributed to its onset. Although I felt I had a reasonable idea as to the main [read the full story…]

Modifying patterns of movement in people with low back pain – does it help? A systematic review

Gym ball exercises 2

On returning home from a recent Pilates class I wondered to myself as to what effect, if any, the exercises had on my movement and posture. I reflected also on the fact that nearly every exercise class that I had been to recently seemed to emphasise the importance of having a good ‘core’. Physiotherapists are [read the full story…]

Are school teachers at a high risk of developing musculoskeletal disorders?

teacher looking at globe with children

As teachers across the UK have been recharging their batteries over the summer break are they also taking the opportunity to rest their weary bodies? Musculoskeletal disorders have a huge impact on work related absences. For example in the UK, in 2007/2008, on average, each person suffering from an upper-limb disorder took an estimated 13.3 [read the full story…]