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Kiwis Turning to Dr. Google for Back Pain Remedies

Almost 100,000 Kiwis Per Year Are Turning to Dr. Google for Back Pain Remedies

However, rehab experts at Active+ say that many could be finding relief with some simple health and pain management strategies.

According to Active+, one of the country’s largest multi-disciplinary rehabilitation suppliers, thousands of New Zealanders are Googling their back pain symptoms every month. That includes 4,200 searching for back pain and lower back pain, 1,110 researching exercises and stretches for lower back pain, 390 looking into back pain red flags and 480 reading about lower back pain causes.

Active+ decided to investigate how many Kiwis were Googling back pain ahead of World Physiotherapy Day, which takes place on 8 September. The theme this year is chronic pain, with a particular focus on lower back pain.

They discovered that Aucklanders are the most likely to be tapping in back pain keywords, followed by Hamilton, Wellington and Christchurch.

Gill Webb, founder of Active+, explains that the statistics are unsurprising, given that back pain is one of the primary reasons for GP appointments in New Zealand. However, the high numbers could also be an indication that many people are not following an appropriate treatment programme.

“We need to change the way we approach back pain,” says Gill. “An episode can be frightening and painful. But, most of the time, for people whose back pain isn’t caused by another condition (such as spinal injury or arthritis), it will run its own course and clear up reasonably quickly. However, there is still an overreliance on strong painkillers and surgery here in New Zealand.”

“We have found that the majority of cases respond to simple physical and psychological therapies that keep people active and enable them to stay at work,” adds Andy Schmidt, Active+ Director. “Studies[1] have shown that physiotherapy can be as a good as surgery and less risky for the most common type of lower back pain – while various types of exercise can ease pain and help prevent reoccurrences. Swimming, brisk walking, cycling, yoga and toning classes such as Pilates are all good fitness choices. Psychological therapies can also be useful to help people deal with the pain.”

Andy emphasises that maintaining a healthy lifestyle is often one of the most effective ways of managing back pain.

“Many of the things that people should be doing to better their overall health, are also sensible ways to approach back pain. These include getting enough sleep, getting more active, being a healthy weight, giving up smoking, and reducing or better managing work and life stress.”

Founded almost thirty years ago, Active+ is one of the largest multi-disciplinary rehabilitation suppliers in New Zealand. It is also one of the only 100% New Zealand owned physiotherapy and rehabilitation networks.

Active+ can help with almost anything in terms of prevention, rehabilitation and wellness. Services include physiotherapy; multi-disciplinary rehabilitation; wellness and occupational health; vocational rehabilitation; concussion and brain injury rehabilitation; needs assessment; pain management; psychology and neuropsychology assessment; specialist medical assessments, and counselling.

Active+ has a growing network of over 20 clinics across the North and South Islands that deliver physiotherapy and multidisciplinary rehabilitation services. 650 clinicians deliver services to New Zealanders every day in their workplaces, in their homes and from the practices.

For more details, visit or follow Active+ on Facebook.


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