If in addition to treating patients, you also provide exercise advice, then you may be maximising the chances of your patients making a full and complete recovery.
In a major study published in 2004, researchers found that physiotherapy was largely ineffective for sufferers of lower back pain of mild to moderate severity. But those patients who followed their physiotherapist's exercise advice did show some improvements.
Overall, those who did best were the patients who not only did the recommended back exercises, but also joined fitness classes or took up yoga.
There was also some evidence that disciplines teaching awareness of the body, such as the Alexander technique and Pilates, may have some effect in reducing lower back symptoms.
This is not to call into question the overall effectiveness of physiotherapy, but to illustrate how it should be part of a larger process of patient management that includes an understanding of how the things that patients do when they are away from the physiotherapy clinic will affect their recovery.
So next time you have a patient with lower back pain, think about the information you give them. For although research shows that exercise is the best thing for lower back problems, many people with back pain are fearful of making it worse.
Encouraging them to exercise appropriately may be the best thing you can do for them.