Referral Sources

Why Back Care Boot Camp?

Taking care of patients with low back pain is challenging.

Most of us who have spent any significant time caring for patients afflicted with chronic low back pain realize quickly how little patients understand about their back and the problems that face them.

We all think we are great communicators, but reality tells us otherwise. Too often, we are guilty of spouting off some theory about what we think is causing the patient's pain, why we are ordering the MRI scan, why we are prescribing three or four medications, and what the patients should do to help themselves.

The problem is that we don't give patients what they really need, which is a clear understanding of how their back works and good instruction about what they can do to help themselves. Instead, we give them incomplete explanations and a pamphlet of exercises that they often don't understand. We expect them to be compliant, but we sometimes fail to give them the tools to be compliant.

We're often too busy to do the right thing.

As my frustrations grew, so did my intention to solve this problem. How could I be sure that my patients were getting off to a good start in caring for their back pain? How could I ensure that they were learning the information and skills they needed to reduce their risk of future back problems? How could I ensure that someone was taking the time to explain the anatomy and body mechanics in a way that my patients would understand? And how could I help my patients know why they were doing their exercises?

Back Care Boot Camp is the result of that frustration. I worked with three physical therapists, Brent Dodge, Mary Frank, and Jennifer Brooke, to create a core curriculum of information and skills. We felt that every back patient should have the opportunity to learn and master a specific curriculum. The result is a body of information that ensures that all patients receive the necessary tools to care for their back pain.

Back Care Boot Camp is the resource that most patients need.

The program is not intended to limit what the physical therapist does with the patient. We realize that each patient is unique, and a one-size-fits-all approach is not appropriate. The physical therapist is the expert in assessing the needs of the patient and providing a plan of treatment to fit those needs. But all back care patients need to understand a core of information and master a common set of tools to care for their back pain. Back Care Boot Camp is designed to present the core of knowledge that all back patients need to know and use.

Back Care Boot Camp accomplishes this goal through a syllabus that delivers clear, concise information to the patient. The program is not ambiguous. There are clear expectations for both the patient and the physical therapist.

Why should you use Back Care Boot Camp?

Back Care Boot Camp simplifies your life and improves care for your back patients.

Back Care Boot Camp provides you with the comfort of knowing that your patients will be getting a comprehensive, consistent, evidence-based approach to their back problems. When you refer your patients to a physical therapist using the Back Care Boot Camp approach, you know what your patients will be doing and learning.

Back Care Boot Camp improves communication among providers and ensures appropriate and timely referral and intervention.

Back pain is a complex disorder. Current research on the natural history of back pain clearly shows that the condition cannot be understood or effectively addressed by a simplistic disease model. The condition represents a multifactorial, biopsychosocial condition.

The physical therapists who employ the Back Care Boot Camp program work closely with each client, ensuring that you get timely feedback to facilitate decisions when needed about early intervention and potential referral to specialists. You receive this information quickly, helping you communicate effectively with insurers and other third-party payers.

Back Care Boot Camp helps you translate complex information in a way your patients can understand.

Most patients who present with back pain have little knowledge of how their back works or the cause of their pain. For many, this is the first serious medical condition they have faced. We as practitioners shouldn't expect these patients to develop a satisfactory understanding of these issues in one or two visits. This is new territory for these patients! Information mustn't simply be thrown at them; it needs to be presented in a fashion that is digestible and understandable.

Back Care Boot Camp provides patients with information in a logical, incremental fashion. When patients understand the rationale behind a particular recommendation, they are much more likely to make the behavioral change and continue the exercise or activity. Back Care Boot Camp is a system designed to engage patients' cognitive abilities and senses in order to help patients sustain the behavioral changes that are necessary to improve the natural history of back pain.

Each lesson in Back Care Boot Camp builds on previous successes in mastering earlier material. Each lesson combines immediate physical doing in addition to cognitive learning so that each skill begins to be reinforced immediately. The multimedia tools provided in this program address all learning styles. The information is delivered in multiple modes including text, visual, auditory, and active participation.

Try the program for yourself. See if your patients benefit as much as mine have. See if it makes your life easier. I am optimistic that you'll be delighted with the results.

Randale C. Sechrest, MD
Medical Director
Montana Spine Center

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