Low back pain: do you know the right treatment?

In case of back pain, “the right treatment is movement” affirmed the Primary Health Insurance Fund in an awareness campaign on low back pain. Several years later, has the message got through to patients who suffer from back pain (and to others)?

Low back pain, which is defined as pain in the lower back, between the thoracolumbar hinge and the gluteal fold, is one of the most common musculoskeletal disorders in adulthood: more than 8 out of 10 people (82% ) will suffer from it at least once in their lifetime.

On the same subject

Good reflexes against low back pain

For the occupational accidents/diseases branch of health insurance, low back painrepresent one billion euros per year (including 580 million euros for work stoppages) or the equivalent of the cost of all other musculoskeletal disorders (tendinitis, neck pain, etc.). this is why, in 2017, the CPAM decided to launch a prevention campaign to encourage patients who suffer from back pain to fight against a sedentary lifestyle.

“For back pain, the right treatment is movement” suggested this video campaign, which emphasized the need to walk and resume physical activity as soon as possible when suffering from low back pain, so that it does not become chronic. The first part of the campaign was broadcast from November 2017 and was then updated in November 2018

To move or not to move: what is your opinion?

To check if the message got through to the population, Public Health France conducted a telephone survey in 2019 among 2,736 people aged 18 to 85. The results of this survey have just been published in the Weekly Epidemiological Bulletin (BEH), this Tuesday, June 14.

The questions concerned memorization of the campaign two years later, and adherence to the prevention recommendations: “Do you agree with the following proposition: when you have low back pain, maintaining your physical activity (professional or other) is preferable to rest?” (Completely/Rather/Rather disagree/Strongly disagree).

>> Results: about a quarter of the population remembered knowing about the campaign. And the majority of respondents (81%) “totally” or “somewhat” agreed with the recommendations, more frequently those who had memorized the campaign. It should be noted, however, that people who had been severely limited in daily activities for at least six months because of a health problem adhered to the recommendations less often than those who were not.

Not the same support among workers and managers

Similarly, manual workers and intermediate professions adhere significantly less to the recommendations on back pain than managers and higher intellectual professions. “These differences between socio-professional categories reinforce existing social inequalities in health, since workers are already more at risk of undergoing herniated disc surgery than executives and higher intellectual professions and since intermediate professions, workers and employees are more confronted with occupational exposures at risk of low back pain” insist the researchers.

“Our results go in the same direction as those of the evaluations of foreign campaigns. But it would be necessary to also evaluate the effects on health, the well-being of the population, or the chronicizations avoided, in order to test the purpose of the campaigns. Furthermore, the final effect of the campaign on medical consultations related to back pain, the use of imaging and care, the prevalence and incidence of chronic low back pain remains to be studied” they conclude. .

Why it’s important to move

When you suffer from low back pain, the first step (after taking painkillers) is to stop all movement to relieve the pain. However, according to doctors, the fact of not moving causes a loss of musculature, as well as a loss of flexibility. Little by little, the pain will paradoxically increase and the functional capacities will decrease.

If there is no specific gymnastics against back pain. All the movements of daily life, without forcing, can be practiced and are beneficial. “Moving, walking, resuming the usual gestures of everyday life is useful in the fight against low back pain. And all gestures count, starting with those of daily life” makes the CPAM heard.

Source : BEH n° 13, June 14, 2022

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