Successful approaches to chronic conditions such as persistent back pain require some level of patient adaptation including self-management. This does not mean that patients are left alone to manage their conditions, rather a collaborative approach including clinical care and integrations of core elements that have been identified empowering people to play a role in their own care. An effective partnership between clinicians and individuals using the best available evidence can assist patients in living their best lives in the presence of chronic conditions.
A recent open access article in the Brazilian Journal of Physical Therapy titled Self-management at the core of back pain care: 10 key points for clinicians, highlights this paradigm shift advocating management of chronic conditions away from clinician-led management toward patients assuming a key role in their own care. Self-management is defined in the paper as, “…’the individual’s ability to manage the symptoms, treatment, physical and psychological consequences, and lifestyle changes inherent in living with a chronic condition,’ and is the part of self-care that relates to dealing with health conditions.” Specific approaches clinicians can use to integrate self-management as a core component into other active guideline based clinical care and actions make this a must read article! Included in the 10 key points for clinicians are behavior change techniques with a focus on patient autonomy and self-efficacy aligned with intervention planning, delivery, and clinical evaluation, for example, help patients make sense of their symptoms and teach skills to solve everyday problems.
As chronic conditions dominate the healthcare spectrum, developing successful management strategies that include patient self-management are essential for improving the health of populations overall, improving the patient experience of care, and smarter spending of finite resources – the Triple Aim of healthcare.