"Back pain physiotherapy sessions need to be longer"
About: Specialist services / Musculoskeletal and rehabilitation service Specialist services Musculoskeletal and rehabilitation service
Posted by betty b (as ),
I would like to share my experience of NHS physiotherapy treatment in Leeds for chronic back pain, the latter of which I have experienced over many years.
I went to a non-NHS physio provider for a number of years at a cost of £50 for a one hour session. When I began to experience numbness in one leg I decided to go to the doctor and they referred me for an MRI scan.
I was then seen by a consultant physio who accepted me for a course of physiotherapy intervention. My appointments were for 20 minutes and I was shown exercises, which I have continued to do as prescribed, twice a day. I was told I could be referred, via my GP, back to the service if my back deteriorated.
It did deteriorate pretty soon after finishing treatment but I didn't have the heart to go back to my GP and start the process again (the first time I had to wait 3 months in such pain I couldn't stand over the sink to brush my teeth in the morning) so paid for a private physiotherapist. I have a 45 minute session and they do lots of hands-on corrective work as well as giving me exercises.
I am lucky I can afford to pay for this treatment. I just don't see how chronic back pain can be properly addressed with a 20 minute appointment and exercise alone. If I couldn't pay for it privately I'd no doubt be on pain killers, which would cost the NHS much more money over time.
Chronic back pain is the number one reason for long term sickness absence from work and costs the economy enormous amounts. In my view it would be more cost effective in the long term to provide more substantial physiotherapy input with appointment times which mean that specialists can work in a meaningful way with their patients.