Authors' reply

BMJ 1995; 310 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.310.6990.1332c (Published 20 May 1995) Cite this as: BMJ 1995;310:1332
  1. Helen Frost,
  2. Jane Moser,
  3. Jeremy Fairbank,
  4. Jennifer Moffett
  1. Director of physiotherapy research Superintendent physiotherapist Consultant orthopaedic surgeon Nuffield Orthopaedic Centre, Oxford OX3 7LD
  2. Research fellow Centre for Health Economics, University of York, York YO1 5DD

    EDITOR,—Because we were limited to 2000 words it was not possible to describe all the exercises used in the programme. Details of these are available from HF on request. The overall aim of the fitness class was to encourage normal movement without unduly stressing the spine and thereby progressively to increase the patients' confidence in their back. The class followed a general exercise programme, which aimed at including all the main muscle groups with the use of minimal gym equipment. As we stated, stretching exercises and light aerobic exercises were also included.

    There is little evidence for the effectiveness of any specific exercise programme for back pain.1 This could be because of the problems of classifying back pain syndromes,2 since most studies have been carried out on heterogeneous samples of people with back pain with varying needs, for which one specific exercise programme is unlikely to be suitable. For this reason physiotherapists are reluctant to provide specific exercise leaflets for patients with back pain without prior assessment.

    The two year follow up data are now available, and we plan to publish details of all the exercises used in the programme and these follow up data at the same time.


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