Functional Restoration Programmes For Back Pain: The Patient’s Perspective

Functional Restoration Programmes For Back Pain: The Patient’s Perspective


A functional restoration programme is very much a patient focussed programme which is aimed at reducing pain levels experienced and improving quality of life, but many patients have never heard of a ‘functional restoration programme’ and are unaware of just how beneficial these programmes can be for patients who are experiencing chronic back pain that seems resistant to treatment.


Key Elements Of A Functional Restoration Programme


The primary focus of any functional restoration programme is to create a programme that is focussed on the individual patient and is reflective of their needs. Each patients is an individual and has an individual response to pain, so they need a programme to suit them and furthermore a programme that will benefit them.


Since pain can seriously impair the quality of life that someone experiences, any FRP also has to be holistic in its approach. The patient as a whole is treated, not just the pain.


An FRP will therefore look at how participants can be encouraged to manage their pain and equipped with strategies to ensure that they can cope with it.


Education also features in an FRP as participants learn about posture, the correct ways to lift, to do their jobs etc in such a way that they can reduce the risk of aggravating their condition.


Participants are also strongly encouraged to self-manage their pain, ensuring that they start to take ownership of it, instead of having the pain dominate their lives. This may not sound significant, but on a psychological and emotional level, this can make a huge difference to someone’s quality of life and can alleviate much of the emotional stress that people can feel.


In addition, patients will be encouraged to be active and to push their activity levels in an effort to regain some flexibility and strength. Physiotherapy is central to any FRP, but also Occupational Therapy is given a leading role, in an effort to look at how the patient can manage their condition and hopefully return to work.


A Balanced Team Approach


The team responsible for leading the FRP will always be multidisciplinary, in order to ensure that a balanced approach is adopted. The team will therefore have pain management consultants, physiotherapists, occupational therapists, as well as psychologists and fitness consultants and potentially some other healthcare professionals, as and when required.


This ensures that participants have direct access to people who can help them from different disciplines and so they are not simply treated from one perspective.


Return To Work


Although the benefits of reducing pain levels, alleviating stress and encouraging ‘ownership’ of the pain are in themselves very laudable aims, an FRP is also a very effective way of ensuring that those with chronic back pain can return to work. It is for this reason that many large organisations such as the Royal Mail have FRPs as standard to help people who have been off work with back pain, return to work as soon as possible.


This is definitely a real bonus for patients, since they are able to return to work and participate in Society again, which in turn boosts their self-esteem to a significant degree.


So from a patient’s perspective a functional rehabilitation programme is a fabulous way of ensuring that pain is managed and that a return to work becomes a real possibility, not just a dream

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