What is STarT Back?

A short animation explaining STarT Back

The majority of people who have a bout of back pain will improve over time whatever treatment they receive. Some people are less fortunate and their back pain doesn’t get better in the same way. We know that is not always easy for health professionals to recognize who will do well and who would benefit from extra care. This leads to some people being referred for treatment that they don’t really need and some people who don’t get the treatment they require.

This is where the STarT Back approach comes in.

Using 9 questions, a clinician can allocate a patient into a group of low, medium or high risk of developing chronic pain to enable them to get the most appropriate treatment matched to their condition. Patients in the low risk group get good quality, helpful information, which has been designed especially for patients by patients and clinicians, and support from their GP to manage their back pain until they feel better. Medium risk patients get physiotherapy and high risk patients get physiotherapy with additional emotional wellbeing support.


Patient information

If you have back pain, you may be given a patient information leaflet to help you to understand more about your condition. This leaflet has been put together by patients, clinicians and academics in the Impact Accelerator Unit at Keele University. It contains the answers to the most frequently asked questions around back pain as well as real life patient accounts, so you can learn from others who have been through a similar experience.

So you have Back Pain?

This leaflet is endorsed by NICE and Commended in the 2019 BMA Patient Information Awards
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Mobile friendly leaflet

STarT Back – further explanation