STarT Back in Practice

Successful management of back pain is based on an effective consultation characterised by listening and information giving. Health care professionals involved in the STarT Back trial and IMPaCT study were given education to support them when dealing with patients with back pain. In particular there was emphasis on things that can be challenging such as explaining back pain, dealing with distress and challenging unhelpful beliefs that are a barrier to recovery. In this section learn about the key messages from the STarT Back approach.

Hear from Dr Tom Margham, GP lead at Versus Arthritis UK, as he highlights the points for success in a back pain consultation.

Physiotherapists from Midlands Partnership NHS Foundation Trust (formerly known as Staffordshire and Stoke-on-Trent Partnership NHS Trust), UK led by Hilary Bradbury-Professional Lead for Physiotherapy, were early converts to the STarT Back approach. They took the opportunity to work with local GP practices in the Leek and Biddulph area of North Staffordshire to see whether they could bring the study into practice. They undertook an audit in partnership with the Clinical Audit Facilitation Service.

They produced a detailed Audit Report and a Keele STarT Back physiotherapy audit template but their key findings about the STarT Back approach were:

Using the STarTBack Approach improves accuracy in matching patient to treatment

Ensures patients receive appropriate treatment by a skilled physiotherapist

Avoids over-treating patients

Pain and functions scores improve

100% patient satisfaction in a friends and family test

Reduced waiting times for routine and urgent physiotherapy appointments

Improved the discharge reporting process

Reduced the number of patients being referred on for a second opinion.