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Safety and Health Practitioner (SHP) is first for independent health and safety news.
March 14, 2008

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Liverpool PCT backs symptoms-driven approach to back pain

It is estimated that more than 4.9 million working days are lost every year because of work-related back pain, and this figure is set to rise as the UK’s workforce grows older.

Liverpool Primary Care Trust, in partnership with [email protected], is aiming to tackle this with new guidelines to encourage patients to deal with the problems that cause back pain.

The new guidelines give GPs the option to refer patients to [email protected], who will then look at a patient’s working environment and advise where things need to be changed in order to prevent back problems re-occuring.

“Our workforce is ageing and back pain has become incredibly common – over 80 per cent of the UK population have suffered from some form of back pain in their lifetime,” comments Frances Molloy, executive director of [email protected] “The problem is that we often treat the symptoms, not the cause. Patients will go through the treatment process and the recovery, but then go back to doing the same activities that caused the back pain in the first place.

In addition to tackling the causes of back pain, the guidelines aim to help GPs improve their service and, in the right circumstances, encourage patients to exercise to improve back pain.

Dr Denis O’Brien, a GP with a special interest in orthopaedics, and Liverpool PCT musculoskeletal lead, says: “Most patients believe that the best course of action when they have back pain is to do nothing and lie in bed. This is usually the worst thing you can do, as it aggravates the problem and your muscles weaken. Keeping active is best, and will ensure muscles remain fit and strong.”

What makes us susceptible to burnout?

In this episode  of the Safety & Health Podcast, ‘Burnout, stress and being human’, Heather Beach is joined by Stacy Thomson to discuss burnout, perfectionism and how to deal with burnout as an individual, as management and as an organisation.

We provide an insight on how to tackle burnout and why mental health is such a taboo subject, particularly in the workplace.


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