Back care courses
Back care courses vary hugely. You have in-person offline ones, and online ones. They could be led by Personal Trainers, Yoga Teachers, Pilates Instructors, clinicians, pain management clinics, occupational therapists or anyone who thinks they could make a quick buck.
Offline versus online back care courses
There’s no doubt that a good offline back care course is likely to be better than an online one. You can more easily get personal correction of postures and movements. But because they’re in-person, they’re likely to be more expensive. They’re also at a fixed time. Online courses may be pre-recorded so you can join in at any time. Also, online back care courses you can do in privacy. There is no one behind you checking out how big your bottom is when you bend over 😉
Back care courses with Personal Trainers
Fitness professionals – especially strength and conditioning coaches – are very good at instructing you on how to move. They also have a good approach to optimising movement in order to reduce strain on the lower back. Think about it; if you’re teaching someone how to lift something very heavy, you have to do it in a way that minimises the risk of injury. The downside is that Personal Trainers don’t usually have a good understanding of specific injuries or pain mechanisms. Also, some of them are over-ambitious about how much you should attempt to lift.
Back care courses with Yoga Teachers
I’m a big fan of Yoga. I think it can be great for body and mind. I know of at least one course that has been researched and shown to be helpful for those with lower back pain. Yoga for Healthy Lower Backs. Again, there isn’t a great understanding of pain mechanisms and so for people with long-standing pain you may find the experience a bit frustrating.
Back care courses with Pilates Instructors
It’s actually not that common to find these. Perhaps because many pilates instructors (wrongly) assume that everyone knows that Pilates is good for lower back pain. However, there’s no real evidence it’s any better than any other kind of exercise. Typically, there’s no discussion of how pain works (again).
Back care courses with clinicians
In my view these are likely to be the best (but then I am a clinician myself!). Clinicians specialising in lower back pain should have an in-depth understanding of how pain works AND how the lower back works. It’s important to help you to understand both. Not all clinicians are good at demonstrating exercises and movement, so make sure yours is. If they don’t have videos on their website, the chances are they’re not very confident at coaching movement.
Back care courses with Pain Management Clinics
These are increasingly common because back pain is so debilitating. Therefore a lot of people end up in these sort of clinics. The problem with these is that the different healthcare workers involved often disagree over what emphasis to give different aspects of your problem.
Summary on back care courses
I think you’d be wise to choose a clinician who specialises in back pain problems. And if you can’t see him/her personally, you may find that there are lots of good things about an online course for lower back pain. You could always combine the back care course with an online consultation for back pain.