A SOUTHAMPTON physiotherapist believes more clinicians should do nothing when it comes to treating patients with back pain.

Lucy Jones, who is based at Southampton General Hospital, said many patients simply want to know why they have back pain and receive reassurance it is nothing “sinister” before committing to treatment.

But she fears that many clinicians fail to discuss the option of non-intervention and, as a result, patients embark on unwanted exercise or other therapy programmes.

Her warning comes after completing the UK’s first study into how involved patients are in the decisions made with therapists about their care.

She said: “While clinicians may have altruistic motives and a strong desire to treat, it is important at every stage to consider whether including ‘no treatment’ is a valid option and avoid the temptation to offer treatment by default.”

The research, funded by Arthritis Research UK, found that out of 80 observed appointments, the choice to defer treatment was provided in only two appointments and the option of taking no action considered just once.