Avoid back surgery and sickness absence - working out at home

A new workout concept developed by back patients, physiotherapists and the Centre for Innovation and Research (CIR) at the Capital Region of Denmark in collaboration with two private enterprises and a knowledge institution.

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Working out instead of surgery can save society huge sums and give back patients better quality of life. This is the approach behind a new workout concept called BackTrack, which helps people with herniated disks and other back pains. Back pains are one of the most frequent reasons for reduced ability to work and absenteeism due to sickness, and up to 35% of the adult Danish population suffer from either back diseases or back pains.

Benefits for citizens and the health services

Together with the CIR the Disc Centre at Nordsjællands Hospital, two private enterprises, a knowledge institution, as well 27 citizens from Northern Zealand suffering from severe back problems have developed the new back workout concept.

At the hospitals, this concept may help reduce the number of physical consultations between physiotherapists and patients, and the number of back operations could be reduced. For citizens this generates great benefits in the form of fewer sick days and sickness periods, more flexibility and not least higher quality of life.

Citizens are actively involved and take ownership

The target group for the new back workout concept is primarily 45-65-year-olds with back problems, mostly with a herniated disk.

When beginning the back treatment at hospital, the patient will receive a number of exercises to be performed. In order to ensure perseverance, suitability and effectiveness, through an App on either a smartphone or tablet, the patient can get an overview of his or her entire workout programme. The patient can see the training programme, videos of the exercises to be carried out at home and make notes in the training diary.

The App comes with a training belt which the patient can use for training. Patients can use the belt to monitor their movements during training on a screen and this helps them do the exercise correctly. The training belt and App monitor any progress by collecting the data generated when the patient works out.

Through the App, patients can also schedule a meeting with their physiotherapist and carry out online consultations. For the online consultations, patients share their training data with their physiotherapist in order to have any errors during training corrected and to clarify questions, and the physiotherapist may adjust the treatment further.

Ulla Pihl, Lead Physiotherapist at the Department of Physiotherapy at Nordsjællands Hospital says: "For patients, the belt is a guide on whether they are training the right muscles and carrying out the exercises properly in order to benefit from the exercises as intended. Receiving feedback should also motivate patients to work out and give them an opportunity to see whether their efforts are giving them the results they are looking for”.
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