Thursday, April 14, 2005

Thank the French:
Here Comes Souchard's Global Postural Re-education

Back pain is the most rapidly rising source of occupational disability in the USA.  It has a yearly prevalence of 15-20% of the working adult population.  The economic impact is considerable.  Depending upon the methodology, estimates range from 20 to 50 billion dollars per year.

Much medical research that is reported in the Blogosphere is the high-tech stuff.  Every once in a while, though, there is an important finding that is remarkable because it is so simple.  From Medscape (free registration required):
French Physical Therapy Technique Effective in Patients With Refractory Chronic Back Pain
Paula Moyer, MA

April 14, 2005 (Miami Beach) — A physical therapy technique known as Souchard's global postural re-education (GPR) restores most people to complete activities of daily living and therefore produces results that are superior to other conservative interventions or surgery, according to a team of Argentine investigators whose findings were presented here today at the 57th annual meeting of the American Academy of Neurology.

[...] GPR consists of a series of maneuvers in which the patient is in the supine, sitting, and standing positions. The physical therapist's maneuvers involve stretching the paraspinal muscles and those of the abdominal wall so that the joints are relieved of the compression that is typically the source of their pain. The technique is named after the French physical therapist who developed it, Philippe Souchard, and was originally intended as a treatment for scoliosis. Treatment is typically at least four months in duration, with two to four sessions or more the first week, depending on the severity of the patient's condition, and then once weekly thereafter. [...]
Perhaps it is not the sort of earth-shattering, groundbreaking stuff that you usually read about.  But hey, if it cuts the economic impact of back pain by even 10 or 20%, that's real money.