Revolutionizing Chronic Pain Treatment with Cognitive Functional Therapy (CFT) as part of our usual care.

Hip pain physiotherapist, hip assessment

Chronic lower back pain is a widespread issue, causing a lot of suffering, missed workdays, and a significant financial burden on healthcare systems around the world. In 2021, The Lancet released a series of articles called “Rethinking Chronic Pain,” which emphasized the importance of finding accessible and effective ways to help people with chronic pain. One approach that stands out is Cognitive Functional Therapy (CFT), which focuses on looking at both the physical and psychological aspects of pain.

A recent study decided to see how well CFT works compared to the usual care people get for their chronic back pain.

Cognitive Functional Therapy (CFT) includes 3 main components:

  1. Making sense of pain
  2. Exposure with control
  3. Lifestyle changes

Usual care includes manual therapy, exercise, dry needling, analgesic medication, spinal injections, joint mobilisation.

They split the study participants into three groups: one group got the usual care they’d been having, another group received only CFT, and a third group had CFT along with biofeedback (which helps people learn more about their body and its reactions).

What they found was pretty interesting. Both groups that had CFT (with or without biofeedback) and the usual care showed improvement in pain intensity, and disability, however the CFT reported less pain compared to those who got usual care, and this difference lasted for quite some time (about a year).

What Can We Learn from This?

If you’re someone dealing with chronic pain, this study gives us some essential takeaways:

  1. Flexibility in Your Approach: Instead of only looking at the physical side of pain, we need to think about how our thoughts, emotions, and daily habits affect our pain.
  2. Try CFT Principles: We can combine CFT with our usual care of exercise, manual therapy and movement. Consider using some of the ideas from CFT in your treatment. Understand the patient’s pain story, educate them about how their mind and lifestyle affect their pain, and come up with a personalized plan to manage pain.
  3. Keep Improving: Even if you’re doing a good job with your usual treatment, it’s still worth comparing it to what CFT offers. There’s always room for improvement when it comes to dealing with chronic pain.

At the physio care we embrace a more patient-centered, holistic approach and incorporate the principles of CFT into our practice, we can aim to provide more effective and efficient care for those struggling with long-term lower back pain.

To book an appointment with one of our clinicians please call our friendly staff today.


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