Ten Low Back Pain Facts – VIDEOs

Kevin Wernli
Physiotherapist & PhD Candidate
(2-3 minute read)

On the last day of 2019, the British Journal of Sports Medicine (BJSM) published an article titled: Back to basics: 10 facts every person should know about back pain. The authors of the article have now produced TWO videos (watch below) and have several podcast episodes discussing the facts coming soon here.

A ‘behind-the-paper’ look into its origins:

The origins story that motivated this paper can be read in this (coming soon) fantastic blog by lead author, Professor Peter O’Sullivan. This blog details the motivations behind the paper and includes a little-known personal story.

The paper has been very popular with a big Altmetric score (a score that provides an overview for how much attention a research article gets) and almost 100’000 downloads!

low back pain facts

The articles Altmetric score as of the 8th of June 2020

“Why didn’t anyone tell me?”

As discussed in depth in Professor Peter O’Sullivan’s blog (coming soon), the origins of the paper lie in the stories of patients who un-knowingly held onto limiting and inaccurate beliefs (the ‘myths’ in the paper) and were helped to replace these with ‘things closer to the truth’ (the ‘facts’ in the paper). A common remark from those who improve is: “why didn’t anyone tell me these facts” or “why aren’t these facts common knowledge”. These thoughts are echoed among many, highlighting the substantial lag between research findings, and clinical practice (said to be about 17 years). As authors, we wanted to try and help facilitate the dissemination and translation of this research. BJSM helped us out tremendously by making the article open access, meaning it was free to read in full and no longer behind a paywall. But not everyone engages with research articles (understandably, they can be long and complex) so we wanted to provide additional media to share the message in a bid to reach and help more people. In part, this was achieved through the below infographic embedded in the paper.

low back pain facts

The infographic published in the paper in an effort to promote translation and implementation into clinical practice.

If a picture speaks a thousand words, and an infographic maybe more, then how many words does a video speak?

To further help spread the message, we decided to create a video that illustrates the facts. And while we (the authors) have had personal experiences with pain, including pain that was at times debilitating, and have published widely on the topic of persistent pain, we wanted to hear it from those who have had their lives on hold because of disabling pain. So, we enlisted the help of 10 everyday people that did have this lived experience. Some of these people you may recognise as prominent global patient advocates (such as Joletta Belton, Adrian McGregor, Pete Moore and Tina); or from previous media created to try and spread contemporary pain knowledge (such as Jamie from PainHealth, Joe from The West Australian Newspaper, and Anthony from this 1 minute video); while others were just willing to share their story knowing it may help those in similar situations. We are so grateful for their support of this initiative, the final videos wouldn’t have been possible without them! So, a huge thanks to them!


Further to just the facts, we wanted to share some of the stories of the people who presented the facts, which gave rise to the second video, “Stories behind the facts”.


You’ll hear a lot of similarities between each patient story, like how they were in a dark world of pain, fear and worry, or how a key mindset shift from ‘damaged and vulnerable’ to ‘confident and carefree’ was important for their recovery. The journey of ‘mindset shift’ is something we’ve captured before (see infographic below). We also wrote a blog about this here.

CFT low back pain facts infographic

The new ‘generic’ Cognitive Functional Therapy infographic (now all pain, not just low back pain). Free for download, printing and sharing given it is kept in its original form and due credit is given


We sincerely hope the articles, infographics, videos and podcasts we’re involved with help spread these important messages and help nudge people down the road to recovery. If you have suggestions for future research papers, dissemination strategies or have other questions or comments, please contact us via our twitter (@PeteOSullivanPT, @JPCaneiro, @kieranosull, Ivan Lin, Sam Bunzli, @KWernliPhysio, @MaryOKeeffe007).


Special thanks to Dr JP Caneiro and Professor Peter O’Sullivan for their review of this blog prior to publication.

About the Author:KWernliPhysio

Kevin Wernli is a physiotherapist and PhD candidate researching low back pain and its relationship to movement and posture. He is passionate about empowering people to take control of their health as well as translating research into clinical practice through infographics, videos and now as co-host (with Professor Peter O’Sullivan and Dr JP Caneiro) of the Empowered Beyond Pain podcast.You can keep up to date with what he is up to through his social channels @KWernliPhysio

Please note this is not medical advice and we encourage a thorough assessment from a trusted healthcare professional to provide you with an individualised rehabilitation plan.