New back pain research 'important' and should be considered as guidelines updated

College Chair Kamila Hawthorne featured in The Telegraph, Mail Online and The Guardian responding to new research in The Lancet on the benefits of regular walking in treating back pain. 

Professor Kamila Hawthorne, Chair of the Royal College of GPs, said: “Back pain affects millions of patients, and can have a serious impact on their quality of life - in some cases to the extent they struggle to carry out everyday tasks without pain. As such, we always welcome research into a condition that can be so debilitating, and it’s important this is taken on board as clinical guidance is developed and updated. 

“This study backs up what we already know – that walking, even in small amounts, can be helpful for back pain. We also know it can have other benefits, for example, for people’s mental health and wellbeing, which is often impacted for those living with pain. As such, GPs will encourage patients with back pain to take moderate exercise, where appropriate and in line with clinical guidelines, but we know that for some patients, this won’t be possible, or will be very difficult.   

“The College supports a multi-faceted approach to treating back pain – and we will develop treatment plans with our patients, based on their individual circumstances – but unfortunately access to non-pharmacological therapies, which we know can be of benefit, is often patchy across the country. This needs to be addressed if patients are to have a suitable range of options that work for them and their specific situations.” 

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Notes to editors

The Royal College of General Practitioners is a network of more than 54,000 family doctors working to improve care for patients. We work to encourage and maintain the highest standards of general medical practice and act as the voice of GPs on education, training, research and clinical standards.