Information for physiotherapists

GLA:D® Switzerland Back programme

The GLA:D® Switzerland Back Programme is a treatment option for patients with chronic or recurrent low back pain that interferes with everyday life. The programme, which consists of three areas: “advice and instruction”, “exercises”, and “quality control through data collection”, was developed by researchers and clinicians at the University of Southern Denmark (SDU).

The aim of GLA:D® is to implement international best practice guidelines in a quality-controlled way in practice ( and to help people with back pain to better manage their back pain through a well-described and structured treatment process.

GLA:D® has also been successfully introduced in Australia, Canada and China in recent years. GLA:D® Osteoarthritis has been available since May 2019 and GLA:D® Back will also be available in Switzerland from summer 2021.

The introduction was driven forward by an interest group consisting of representatives from teaching and research at the universities of applied sciences (HES-SO, SUPSI and ZHAW), practice (Swiss Association for Orthopaedic Manipulative Physiotherapy) and patients (Rheumaliga Schweiz).

The GLA:D® Switzerland Back Programme uses a standardised, evidence-based and field-tested counselling, instruction and exercise programme with individual dosage and increase options.

After completing the programme, patients have sufficient skills to manage their back pain independently. The first study results from Denmark confirm positive effects on pain and function.


The GLA:D® Switzerland programme is an overall concept and is offered and carried out exclusively by physiotherapists certified by GLA:D® Switzerland.

The programme is evidence-based, practice-proven and quality-controlled.

In order to guarantee the quality control of the programme, an electronic data collection of each patient is carried out with subsequent anonymous data transfer to the GLA:D® Switzerland Register. 

Thanks to data collection, reports can be produced at national and regional level. This enables GLA:D® Switzerland certified physiotherapists to monitor the quality of their programmes. Through electronic access to the recorded data, physiotherapists can generate reports, e.g. reports to the referring physician and monitor the quality of the programme at the patient level.


The following data are collected at the beginning and at the end of the GLA:D Back Programme:

  • Forward Bending Test
  • Abdominal Endurance Test
  • Extensor Endurance Test
  • Sit to Stand Test

Implementation in your own medical practice/clinic

Certified GLA:D® Switzerland physiotherapists can provide the GLA:D® Switzerland programme in their own practice/clinic. The program is covered by the health insurance if prescribed by a doctor.

The programme starts with 3 individual sessions. These include anamnesis, diagnostic findings, performance of clinical tests and practical introduction to the exercise programme.

Afterwards the group programme starts.
The group training includes 2 education sessions as well as 12 sessions with exercises. Each session lasts 60 minutes and consists of three parts: Warming up, circuit training and cooling down.
For each exercise there are four levels of difficulty so that the intensity of the exercises can be increased individually for each patient during the 12 sessions.

Experience shows that group training contributes significantly to the success of the GLA:D® Switzerland programme. The exchange in the common education sessions as well as in the group training is very much appreciated by the patients and promotes their motivation.

The patients go through the 3 – 2 – 12 – 1 programme:

3 individual sessions with initial examination, tests and
practical introduction to the exercise programme
2 group sessions with consultation and instruction
12 group sessions with a exercise program
1 single session with exit examination, including a short report to the referring doctor


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