Resources for General Practitioners
Figure adapted with permission from Butler D, Moseley L (2003) Explain Pain, Noigroup Publications
People with acute back pain approach physical activity from a risk-benefit framework. Exploring the risks and benefits they are considering and the context within which these decisions are made allows them to make an informed assessment.
Behaviour change is difficult for everyone. However, being active delivers many benefits with relatively little risk.
A focus on the negative effects of rest (like poor healing, weakening, deconditioning) is unhelpful because it reinforces a biomedical model of back pain which has not been supported by research findings. Threatening a poor outcome has not been demonstrated to be an effective way to achieve behaviour change.
that it wasn’t going to damage it any more, I guess ... if I knew that
I just wasn’t going to do myself any harm, then I wouldn’t care”
18 YEAR OLD FEMALE WITH ACUTE PAIN
It is quite safe to experience some pain.
Patients will not injure themselves further because this pain is so protective.