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News - Is modern technology killing us?

View the Mail On-line article here

Well its official modern technology is killing us!!

One of the frustrating things about being a Physiotherapist is trying to discuss the importance of posture. Not because it is not important but because either the patient has not or will not accept responsibility or they have been 'taught' generic techniques which have no relevance to their working or personal life. So often they are told of the importance of bending the knees and keeping the back straight lifting heavy objects but we know that there is only a small number of people who can adapt these instructions into their daily life.

We do know that the spine is more stable the more asymmetrical and complex the task , so why do we still advocate the need to keep the back straight? Furthermore we know that the more rigid the spine the less flexible it is to be able to respond safely to stress ; these two factors may play an influential part in whether we get back pain of not.

For a long time now, we as Physiotherapists have been looking at the causes of low back pain, its most effective treatment and how it may be prevented and most studies have always had similar outcome i.e nothing studied is any better than any other method of treatment out there. However, the studies do not evaluate the activities of the participants when they are not being studied (between sessions). This task is nigh on impossible to do and asking somebody to recollect what they have done creates bias and we are very unlikely to get a true account. When we ask a patient what they have done between treatment sessions the invariable most common answer is 'nothing really out of the ordinary...nothing to cause the pain anyway' to which I usually answer ' As you are seeking my help, let me be the judge of that. Now tell me exactly what you did and how you did it '. Harsh I know but without the proper information we cannot effect change.

Looking at the descriptive pictures shown in the article I can begin to anticipate the problems which we will be asked to give an opinion over the next decade! Just Great!?!

GRANATA, K.P. and ENGLAND , S.A. , 2006. Stability of dynamic trunk movement. Spine, 31 (10), pp. 271.

REEVES, N.P., NARENDRA, K.S. and CHOLEWICKI, J., 2007. Spine stability: The six blind men and the elephant. Clinical Biomechanics, 22 , pp. 266.

CHOUINARD, E. and WALTER, S., 1995. Recall bias in case-control studies: An empirical analysis and theoretical framework. Journal of clinical epidemiology, 48 (2), pp. 245-254.

© Dr A. A. Aluko, February 2013

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