Man with Lower Back Pain

How Cognitive Functional Therapy is Effective for Lower Back Pain

Lower back pain is a common health problem, affecting 80% of the adult population in Singapore. It can be caused by a number of factors, including injury, poor posture, and long hours of sitting. In some cases, low back pain can also be caused by conditions like herniated discs, spinal stenosis, or sciatica. The best way to know the cause of your lower back pain is by finding a physiotherapy care clinic in singapore. Depending on your condition, the physiotherapist will assess your condition by diagnosing the cause of your lower back pain and provide treatment accordingly. Treatment for lower back pain may include physiotherapy exercises such as stretching, strengthening, and core stability exercises. In some cases, Cognitive Functional Therapy (CFT) may be recommended to help reduce the pain. But what is CFT and how effective is it in treating lower back pain? If you’re considering getting it, here’s what you need to know.  

What causes lower back pain?

There are many causes of lower back pain, but it often begins with an injury to the muscles or tendons in your lower back, which can be due to heavy lifting or twisting of the spine. It can happen suddenly or develop slowly over time from repetitive movements. Lower back pain can also result from maintaining a poor posture over time or sustaining sports injuries involving twisting or large impact forces. While some people can get better with rest, pain relievers and physiotherapy, those with chronic lower back pain will require surgical treatment.   Some of the causes of chronic lower back pain include:
  • Degenerative disc disease
  • Lumbar herniated disc
  • Spinal stenosis
  • Joint dysfunction
  • Spondylolisthesis
  • Osteoarthritis
  • Bone deformities
  • Compression fractures
  • Trauma to the lower back
  The best way to treat your lower back pain in general is by seeking professional help to get an accurate diagnosis and treatment plan. However, in order to help manage the pain, relieve your discomfort and recover in a more holistic approach, the best treatment to opt for is Cognitive Functional Therapy (CFT).  

What is Cognitive Functional Therapy?

Cognitive Functional Therapy is an approach within physiotherapy, which is a more modern and novel type of non-surgical treatment due to its patient-centred approach to pain management. The therapy focuses on treating your lower back pain as a whole instead of focusing on the treatment of specific body parts. Put simply; it considers your physical, emotional, and sensory experience of the pain. During this therapy, your physiotherapist will encourage you to share the history of your condition that led to your lower back pain. This will help them better understand your pain and come up with a more holistic treatment solution. Over time, CFT will help you develop greater pain control, less need for medication, and improved mental health. The good news is that you can get this type of holistic treatment here at Benchmark Physio.  

How does this therapy work?

Before Cognitive Functional Therapy (CFT) was developed, treatment for patients with lower back pain often involved getting adequate rest, relieving the discomfort with pain medication, and surgical treatments. However, the efficacy of these treatments generally differs from person to person as every patient has varying needs for recovery. So, instead of adopting a one-size-fits-all approach, CFT allows medical professionals to explore the multidimensional nature of lower back pain through the context of the patient. Hence, this approach aims to reconceptualise the patient’s idea of pain from a biopsychosocial perspective while enforcing helpful beliefs that regular exercise can help with lower back pain, thereby overcoming barriers to functional participation and a healthy lifestyle.  

How does CFT help with lower back pain?

As an integrated behavioural approach within physiotherapy, CFT uses a multidimensional clinical reasoning framework to identify key modifiable targets for lower back pain management based on the patient’s history and behavioural response to pain.   There are three components to this therapy:
  • Cognitive Training – Making sense of your lower back pain facilitates a change in mindset.
  • Exposure with Control – Understanding the process of change that occurs with managing lower back pain.
  • Lifestyle Change – Adopting healthy lifestyle behaviours to manage your lower back pain.
  Since lower back pain remains challenging for many medical professionals, including physiotherapists, this CFT approach can help with long-term treatment, especially for patients with chronic lower back pain.  

Manage Your Lower Back Pain with Physiotherapy at Benchmark Physio

We are committed to delivering superior clinical outcomes to manage your lower back pain using evidence-based physiotherapy care, as well as a holistic approach through treatments like CFT. Learn more about the conditions we treat here.

Meet Our Physiotherapist

Ng Hong Kai, an experienced physiotherapist, has carefully reviewed the information on this page.

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Clinic Director and Chief Physiotherapist​​

  • Master of Clinical Physiotherapy (Musculoskeletal), Curtin University (Australia)
  • Master of Physiotherapy, University of Sydney (Australia)
  • Bachelor of Applied Science (Exercise & Sports Science), University of Sydney (Australia)
  • Member of Australian College of Physiotherapists and Australian Physiotherapy Association
  • Full registration with Allied Health Professions Council, Singapore, and Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency
  • GEMt Certified Dry Needling Practitioner 

Hong Kai has been practising musculoskeletal physiotherapy for more than a decade. He is the first Singaporean to achieve dual credentials as both an APA Titled Musculoskeletal Physiotherapist and a tertiary trained Exercise Scientist.

Hong Kai's broad and extensive skillset allows him to create solutions that are simple, effective and tailored to a client’s musculoskeletal needs. His beliefs in continuing education and self improvement led him to complete his Masters in Clinical Physiotherapy (Musculoskeletal), where he had a chance to participate in formal research into knee osteoarthritis under the supervision of world renowned researcher and physiotherapist Prof Peter 0′ Sullivan. 

Hong Kai has experience treating a variety of musculoskeletal conditions, with a specific focus on addressing lower back, neck, shoulder and knee pain.