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Animation launched by hospital trust to convey vital back pain advice

Heart of England NHS Foundation Trust has launched an innovative new tool to communicate vital advice which is hoped will help sufferers of back pain and reduce the need for hospital treatment.

The Trust, which runs Heartlands, Good Hope and Solihull hospitals as well as community services in Solihull, has developed an animated video which has been developed by the Trust’s therapy directorate in conjunction with HEFT’s medical illustration department.

Its purpose is to convey important advice to people suffering with back pain and highlight the simple things they can do themselves to aid their recovery without the need to seek medical advice.

The animation conveys the message that ‘you are the best person to help make your back better’. If the back pain is a new thing, you do not need to seek advice from your GP or a therapist, and x-rays and scans are not normally needed as most people recover over time.

The driving force of the animation is the message that ‘keeping active is the best thing that you can do’. It then illustrates the NHS approved advice for easing back pain.

This includes:

  • Keep moving
  • Try to maintain your everyday activity as much as possible
  • Avoid bed rest during the day
  • Exercise e.g. walk a little every day and gradually progress it
  • Find a comfortable position for your back but avoid sitting for too long
  • If you have to sit for work make sure you stand up and gently move around every hour
  • Avoid long periods of driving – rest and stretch every hour
  • Take simple pain killers and anti-inflammatory tablets, if possible, so that you can get a good night’s sleep. Speak to your local pharmacist for information on what you can take to help you and take them regularly

However, the animation makes clear that if you have difficulty controlling or passing urine, or numbness, loss of feeling or pins and needles around your back passage or genitals, then go to your nearest Accident & Emergency department immediately.

Julie Hunter, the Trust’s therapy lead for planned care acute and community services, was the driving force behind the project.

She said: “Evidence has shown that if we can encourage people with acute back pain to keep moving it will usually resolve within six weeks, unless there are other underlying factors.

“Keeping active can speed up recovery but if you don’t and resort to something like bed rest instead you could have further trouble and more pain.

“It is simple advice but that education needs to get out there and that is why we have put this animation together. We have consulted with some of our patients for their opinions for what could be included and we consulted with the Chartered Society of Physiotherapy (CSP) and the National Spinal Pathfinder Programme before developing the video.

“The more patients who take note of these messages the better their recovery will be and the less likely they will need to come into hospital.”

The animation is available to view here

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