STOPS Back Pain trial results

Physiotherapy STOPS back pain

For the last 20 years Jon Ford (Advance Clinical Director) has been developing a method that matches different types of back pain with the best physiotherapy treatments.  In 2009 with the support of the Lifecare network and La Trobe University Jon started a major randomised controlled trial called “Specific Treatment of Problems of the Spine” or the STOPS trial.  This landmark study was recently published in the esteemed British Journal of Sports Medicine and is available in full text here.  


The STOPS trial is the first high quality study to show that physiotherapy individualised to the type of back pain is more effective than guideline recommended advice in the short and long term.  The treatment was particularly effective in rapidly reducing pain and showing long term positive differences on function and return to work.  The results for function are presented below and show that at 52 weeks following treatment patients receiving individualised physiotherapy were 50% more likely to improve their function by 50% compared to those receiving advice. 

A number of further papers are currently under review by major scientific journals so stay tuned for more evidence on the effectiveness of physiotherapy.  These results will surprise!