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We have developed a very successful, simple cognitive behavioural programme to encourage people with sub-acute and chronic low back pain to become more active.

In a landmark trial commissioned by the NIHR and published in the Lancet, we demonstrated that training NHS staff (nurses, occupational health, physiotherapists and psychologists) in this approach and them delivering the intervention in over 450 people resulted in a reduction in back pain and disability over a three year time period, and the most cost effective treatment available for low back pain.

We have started to tackle some of the complex issues related to broader implementation within the NHS, in particular to develop a computerised training programme which is now at its first phase of development and testing.

We will undertake a larger Phase IV testing within CLAHRC, with the aim of demonstrating that the quality of care delivered to practitioners. We also wish to examine how this cognitive approach might be used more broadly to stimulate physical activity in other long term painful health conditions, and whether the programme could be delivered over the telephone (for example, making the programme IAPT compatible). The approach has some elements which may be effective in the context of NHS Health Checks.

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Related research themes