Functional Restoration Programmes for Lower Back Pain
The term ‘functional restoration programme’ is a very clinical terms for a programme that is actually not clinical in its nature; it is completely patient focussed! Perhaps it would be more accurate to describe the programme as being a “Get your life back” or “Getting you back to work” programme, because these are the two essential elements of our functional restoration programmes. It is important for us that you regain your life and that you are able to work.
Key Principle of an Excellent Restoration Programme
The most fundamental and key principle to any restoration programme has to be the patient. It is not the medical team, it is not the medication or physiotherapy; it is about the patient and meeting their needs.
We all live different lives, we all have different things that we view as important, whether that be a passion for sailing, mountaineering, hang gliding, painting, doing very little or whatever. But what is important to me may not be important to you. So we have to work with you so that we can help you achieve your goals.
For most patients that is returning to work and being able to function at work, without the restrictions of medication or severe pain.
Some patients seem to feel that the term ‘functional restoration programme’ refers to some kind of ‘boot camp’ approach to a programme of intense physiotherapy and physical exercises. In fact this could hardly be further from the truth and we work with patients to ensure that their pain is reduced and that they are equipped with coping strategies when pain strikes.
We also work with patients on an emotional level to help reduce stress or the psychological distress that can often be caused by pain. Physiotherapy is part of the process, but this is to help strengthen the back and to help minimise any damage to the back, but it is done by experts in a caring and person focussed manner that is not rushed and patients do not need to feel as if they are being forced into anything. Instead we work with you and at your own pace and in a way that is conducive to feeling better and stronger, rather than simply badgering you or rushing you to perform exercises that you are not comfortable doing.
Functional Restoration Programmes Work!
The truth is that these programmes really do work. The Post Office offers these types of programmes to postal workers who have been of work with back problems (often due to carrying post) and they are often successfully returned to work, after what may be a long period off sick.
Feel Better Even When In Pain
One of the benefits of a FRP is that although it is not an instant cure and is to some extent to do with managing pain, there is a real benefit in the sense that patients repeatedly tell us that even if they still have pain after the FRP, they feel more able to manage it and they feel better, even when in pain, so there is much to be said for this approach, which is why we are proud to offer such a programme to our clients.