Innovation and care drive the patient journey to spinal health

By Geoffrey Mackay, Clinical Director 

Formula 1 motorsport has been a hotbed of technical development and innovation for motor cars during its 70 year history.

Functioning on a problem/solution philosophy and driven by the desire to be successful in a competitive landscape, exceptionally skilled designers, mechanics and engineers work under a closely examined microscope backed by immense financial resources to gain their team an edge.

It may not have the glamour of international motorsport, but getback is at the cutting edge of one of the world’s biggest physical health problems, developing rehabilitation programs to help Chronic Back Pain (CBP).

CBP is linked to a number of other conditions including mental health, diabetes and cardiovascular disease in a relationship that is generally referred to as co-morbidity. It is common that CBP sufferers have two or more conditions.

Even though our work is closely examined and conducted under strict ethical guidelines, back rehabilitation does not have the high octane, nostril flaring appeal of Formula 1, or the ‘immense financial resources’ bit.

Recently getback Director of Research, Professor Emeritus John Carlson presented our clinical data – the culmination of four years of work at six different sites around Australia – to the Australian Sports Medicine (SMA) Conference.

His presentation followed the journey of 450 patients from the start of their getback program, through to completion and then 12 months post-treatment.

The study involved the work of 18 trained getback Therapists and took about 200 work days to complete. The end result of all this work was boiled down to a 15-minute presentation.

The real value of presenting to peers in the healthcare sector is that we gain a lot of knowledge along the way. Like a Formula 1 car with new suspension and better steering, the performance improvements far outweigh the effort.

getback has been able to apply the knowledge from a number of studies and today we achieve better outcomes in a shorter amount of time. But rather than just aiming to be the fastest, getback strives to offer more effective treatment programs with the greater efficiency.

Importantly, we understand that every patient’s condition presents differently, so we have developed very strong guidelines for our Therapists based on data from thousands of patients.

It is important for our Therapists to understand exactly where patients are in their journey back to a healthy spine, and for patients to receive real-time visual feedback so they can follow their progression.

RFID technologies, automatic device set up, compliance graphs, track training and real-time biofeedback help the patient experience and the ability of Therapists to adapt treatment learnings to improve outcomes.

Formula 1 motor cars need to go faster and corner better with a more holistic driver experience. It’s high octane, fast, spectacular and fuelled by competitive desires to be the best when only one can be the winner.

getback strives to deliver programs that better suit a patient’s needs and deliver better outcomes. These programs need to be safe and effectively delivered in caring clinical environments.

Our program has to be low risk, but on a patient-to-patient basis our rewards are just as satisfying as the high profile successes of Formula 1.

While we don’t receive any funding to continue our work, we have an equivalent team of dedicated, highly trained and skilled Therapists working to make positive changes in the way back pain is treated.

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