Send to

Choose Destination
Rheumatology (Oxford). 2006 Apr;45(4):371-8. Epub 2005 Dec 6.

The role of physiotherapy in the management of non-specific back pain and neck pain.

Author information

Institute of Rehabilitation, University of Hull, Hull, UK.


This paper provides an overview of best practice for the role of physiotherapy in managing back pain and neck pain, based mainly on evidence-based guidelines and systematic reviews. More up-to-date relevant primary research is also highlighted. A stepped approach is recommended in which the physiotherapist initially takes a history and carries out a physical examination to exclude any potentially serious pathology and identify any particular functional deficits. Initially, advice providing simple messages of explanation and reassurance will form the basis of a patient education package. Self-management is emphasized throughout. A return to normal activities is encouraged. For the patient who is not recovering after a few weeks, a short course of physiotherapy may be offered. This should be based on an active management approach, such as exercise therapy. Manual therapy should also be considered. Any passive treatment should only be used if required to relieve pain and assist in helping patients get moving. Barriers to recovery need to be explored. Those few patients who have persistent pain and disability that interferes with their daily lives and work need more intensive treatment or a different approach. A multidisciplinary approach may then be optimal, although it is not widely available. Liaison with the workplace and/or social services may be important. Getting all players on side is crucial, especially at this stage.

Comment in

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

Supplemental Content

Full text links

Icon for Silverchair Information Systems
Loading ...
Support Center