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Frequently Asked Questions



If you have low back pain and feel you need treatment, pick up a self-referral leaflet from your local GP practice or physiotherapy clinic.


What should I do now?

Once the physiotherapist is happy with your progress, they will discuss your next steps. They will be able to provide you with information about local exercise classes that will help you manage your back pain problem. You will be told that if the same problem flares up or returns withing two months of discharge, you should contact your physiotherapist to arrange a review.


What happens after treatment?

Your physiotherapist will take a detailed history of your problem and how it affects you. You will then be physically examined. Often, this may include checking the feeling in your legs, or looking at your back. You may be asked to undress down to your underwear. You may feel more comfortable wearing sports shorts for this. If so, please bring a pair with you.


What does this assessment involve?

Again, this depends on your individual problem. The first assessment session takes between 45 minutes to an hour. Follow-up sessions last around 20 to 30 minutes.


How long does treatment usually last?

We can't guarantee that you will be cured of your back pain, but we will help you to manage your problem so that you can enjoy your usual activities. We will also show you how to manage any further flare-ups.


Will I be cured of my back pain?

Your treatment will depend on your individual problem, and your physiotherapist will discuss the best course of treatment with you.
Most back pain can be helped by an active approach. If you need specific exercises, your physiotherapist will show you how to do them properly and provide encouragement and advice. They will also discuss medication with you. A range of other treatments may also be provided, depending on your individual problem. Your physiotherapist will discuss these with you.


What treatment will I receive?

If an appointment is necessary the vast majority of patients, with a recent onset of lower back pain, are seen within a few weeks.


How long will I have to wait to be seen?

No. Up-to-date medical information tells us that x-rays or other scans are rarely required for back pain. If an x-ray was carried out, it would probably show changes in the surfaces of joints of the spine. Thankfully, this means nothing other than the fact that we are continuing to grow a little older. If, at any time, a further investigation is required, the GGBPS specialist physiotherapists will arrange it.


Will I have a scan or x-ray?

Anyone who lives in Glasgow and who has a lower back pain problem can use the service. It is available for everyone, and doesn't cost you any money.


Who can use the service?

The easiest way to access the GGBPS is by telephoning or calling in at one of the many patient self-referral physiotherapy clinics in Glasgow (see back page for further details). When you do this, a physiotherapist will discuss your condition fully with you and decide if it is appropriate to arrange some physiotherapy for you. All centres have access to specialist support. You can also be referred to the service by your family doctor (GP).


How do I get referred to the Back Pain Service?

The Greater Glasgow Back Pain Service (GGBPS) is a physiotherapy led service designed to enable patients with lower back pain to be assessed quickly and managed appropriately across Glasgow.

What is the Greater Glasgow Back Pain Service?