15% of patients seen each day by GPs have back pain: more needs to be done!

Stephen Small with BMI team at GP event in Coventry

Stephen Small with BMI team at GP event in Coventry

Two weeks ago I got some interesting feedback from GPs during an IDD Therapy CPD event about the actual incidence of back pain in their daily surgeries.

Whilst 99% of back pain presentations I have heard begin with the usual “back pain is the second most common reason for GP visits” etc, etc, I was interested to know how that translated into a percentage of their daily appointments.

I was quite surprised.

The general consensus amongst the group of GPs was that back pain represented approximately 15% of their daily case load,  i.e. about one in seven patients.

Given the hundreds of different conditions people might come to a GP with, I had expected the percentage to be lower.

GPs are up against it here because patients with chronic back pain clog up the system.  GPs really have limited options and often the patient is dissatisfied.  Help please!

Given the pressure on budgets within the NHS and the costs to society as a whole, surely it makes sense to make back pain resolution and prevention a top priority?

This is particularly important when we consider that societal lifestyles are appalling for disc health and spinal function and in addition, we are all living longer!

As far as the IDD Therapy programme was concerned, there was universal interest from the GPs:  some were extremely positive whilst one said “Listen, if we have a chance to help some patients, then there’s very little to lose and everything to gain.”


Author: Stephen Small
Director Steadfast Clinics Ltd

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