Your ‘Bad Back’ is a Public Health Crisis

Posted by Helen Potter on 10 November 2016 | Filed under Back and Neck Care, Physiotherapy, Technology
By Lauren Jarmusz – Doctor of Physical Therapy Huffington Post USA. Modified by Helen Potter for Australian Aspects. 09/07/2016

The Health Crisis

Being restricted from participating in activities you love, or even having to take time off work because of your bad back or bad knees, is an experience that 1.7 billion people worldwide share.

Why is this a prevalent experience? Why has there been a lack of innovation in the area to mitigate this public health crisis?

Cost of the Health Crisis

Musculoskeletal conditions:

  • Cost the United States over $170 billion a year
  • Are the second leading cause of disability
  • Cause lost wages estimated to average over $850 billion.
  • Are the reason for about 15% of visits to General Practitioners

Treatment Options:

Pharmacological interventions are often the worst choice of intervention due to cost and side-effects. Manual therapies and sports medicine techniques are better options as they have usually better outcomes and greater value. They also have less risk than opiods that contributing to the Opioids dependency epidemic

What is happening to reduce the Health Crisis?

On a national American level, the musculoskeletal healthcare crisis has begun to take a front seat in respect to health care costs and national spending. Governments and groups are applying for the allocation of more money to  physical health promotion.

Initiatives – Encourage Movement and Activity

The initiative is trying to motivate, the eighty percent of adults who do not meet the guidelines for both aerobic and muscle strengthening activities, to get moving!

Projects such as the American Spine Patient Outcomes Research Trial for low back pain are “developing information and resources that health care providers can use when reviewing treatment options with patients” In particular, patients who have one of the three most common causes of severe low back pain.

Similarly, the Healthy People 2020 initiative has set goals for the improvement of nationwide musculoskeletal health, reflecting the “strong state of the science supporting the health benefits of regular physical activity among youth and adults”.

Physiotherapy, physical health and wellness.

The GetPT1st movement promotes going to a Physiotherapist as first choice when experiencing musculoskeletal pain such as sore knees, back, neck etc.  

We want you to understand that movement is at the centre of life, and should be cherished, protected, and prioritised. Pain medications are not the only way to alleviate pain and often don’t get to the cause.  

Innovative Technology

On an industry level, a growing wave of “health & fitness” enthusiasts have begun to change the landscape of traditional fitness from strict gym routines and old school step group fitness classes to  include new and improved workout options.  

The options include online workout sensations that provide workout videos you can follow in the comfort of your own home. Other Applications bring accessibility and community to one’s workout routine. Even the tech industry has joined the cause with wearables, the most well known being the “fit bit phenomenon”.  

Upright Tool

One new promising wearable is Upright, a fantastic little gadget designed to be your very own posture trainer to help reduce low back and neck pain. I will discuss this machine in my next blog.

It is exciting to see solutions to the musculoskeletal health crisis permeating our lives at all levels, national policy, grassroots movements, and in private industry.

Summary

Why not join the cause? Live the life you want for a long time to come! Find a way to move more and be active within each day of   your life. Helen Potter FACP MAPA

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