STarT Back

It is well known that back pain can be a considerable problem for some people, with great costs to them individually and to society as a whole. Effective treatments for back pain exist but often management based on clinical intuition alone fails to match the right patient to the right treatment. Stratified care approaches aim to improve this situation, with a more systematic approach to management decisions.

STarT Back is an example of a stratified care approach. It matches patients to treatments based on prognosis or risk of poor clinical outcome.

The STarT Back approach uses a simple tool to match patients to treatment packages appropriate for them. This has been shown to:

  • Significantly decrease disability from back pain
  • Reduce time off work
  • Save money by making better use of health resources

The STarT Back screening tool is a simple questionnaire designed to help clinicians identify potential risk factors for back pain disability .It is a series of 9 questions in which patients agree or disagree with a statement .The resulting score then categorises patients into low, medium or high risk groups. This allows the clinician to provide the matched treatment package according to the risk group .The approach has been shown to reduce back pain related disability in a cost effective way.

For more information please use the following link

The website shares the knowledge, resources and experiences of the STarT Back approach for use by clinicians, providers, researchers and patients.

Following completion of the screening tool you may be seen individually by a clinician to implement a treatment package or referred to a back class.

The back class is an education and exercise programme for overcoming fear of general movement, exercise and cope with low back pain better. It is a well-established programme consisting of one hour sessions over 8 weeks led by a member of the physiotherapy team.

The STarT Back approach continues to be adopted across the UK and Internationally.