When new dad Bryan Clements saw a Facebook post about a free spine care programme he was keen to find out more.
The 36-year-old had suffered from lower back pain since his early 20s and did not want to get to the point where he couldn't play with his daughter, Breagha, or pick her up.
"I wasn't quite there but I found when I was picking her up I was getting back twinges."
When Clements started the programme his back was consistently sore but not debilitating.
Now, while his back is stiff for 10 to 15 minutes after waking up he no longer has back pain during the day.
The spine care programme is a free, community-based rehabilitation programme for people experiencing neck or back pain. It is run by TBI Health in Palmerston North and is funded by MidCentral District Health Board.
The six to eight-week programme starts with an assessment by a physio to find out what is causing the pain and what movements the client doesn't like.
Clients then work with exercise therapist Sarah Jowsey on therapeutic exercises to try and reduce the pain, while an occupational therapist runs pain education sessions.
"We all work together," Jowsey says. "It's an integrated approach to managing each person individually."
Clients are given exercises to do at home to self manage their back or neck pain.
"We try to make the programme really manageable because we know people are busy."
Jowsey says about 30 people have been through the programme so far and after a successful pilot it will run for all of 2021.
"There are so many people out there with these problems that don't know what to do."
People can't be eligible for other funding, such as on ACC or privately insured for the pain they are experiencing.
Also, the pain can't have been more than two years in duration.
Jowsey says the exercises are designed to integrate movements and postures into everyday life.
"A big part of the programme is not actually the exercise itself but the increased awareness of how they live their lives and how that lack of movement or postures are affecting their health."
Clements is the owner operator of BFIT, which runs fitness classes predominately for parents aged 28 to 48.
He has found some of his clients have back pain due to desk jobs.
Clements found the need to be accountable to Jowsey motivating and describes her as a big part of his success.
"She just made me feel so comfortable with things ... she was just awesome."
He learnt pain does not always mean damaged soft tissue but can be a habitual nervous response to protect the body from further injury.
"I'd never heard that before, ever, so it was very eye-opening for me."
John Wrenn's lower back has troubled him for years and he was eager for an improvement before having a total knee replacement.
While TBI gave him printed instructions for the exercises to be done at home Wrenn has found the app suits him.
"That's even better then you could go down on the floor and not worry about bits of paper."
Wrenn, a self-employed handyman, says his back pain now is "pretty good".
"At the beginning it would just wear you down, sleeping and everything was a problem."
The 69-year-old found the breathing techniques he was taught particularly useful.
"We've all got to breathe and we do it all day but they teach you how to manage your breathing to relax and cope with pain."
• To find out if you are eligible for the spine care programme contact TBI Health.