Category: Back Pain | Author: Stefano Sinicropi | Date: October 9, 2017
Chronic back pain plagues millions of Americans every day. Scientists and medical researchers are always looking into new ways to treat and manage spine pain, but it is such a complex problem that solutions are often elusive. Even though the answers aren’t easy to find, we need to continue spending time and money on finding solutions to this problem that affects roughly one in three Americans.
The University of Minnesota is the latest facility to take a crack at solving the problem of chronic back pain. Recently, the U of M’s health center was awarded a $11.2 million grant to study non-drug approaches to preventing chronic back pain.
“Chronic back pain is considered a leading cause of disability worldwide. It’s a very common problem,” said Gert Bronfort, the lead investigator and professor at the University Integrative Health and Wellbeing Research Program.
Chronic Back Pain Research
A large portion of the funding will go towards conducting a study that is aimed at reducing the number of patients whose acute lower back pain problems become chronic. The study, called “Spinal Manipulation and Patient Self-Management for Preventing Acute To Chronic Back Pain Trial” will involve about 1,200 adults with spine pain and take place over the course of five years. Patients in the study will be evaluated at the University of Minnesota and at the University of Pittsburgh.
Along with studying how to prevent acute cases of spine pain from becoming symptomatic, researchers also hope to find ways to cut down the use of opioids for spine pain management. Bronfort noted that as many as half of all patients with back pain are prescribed some type of opioid to control their pain.
Researchers also want to explore ways to reduce the need for surgery. They want to study the benefits of treatment options like supportive self-management, emotional support, mental health counseling and spinal manipulation as ways to help people avoid spine surgery if possible.
University researchers are currently mapping out the program specifics, and they will begin recruiting patients for the study in the spring of 2018.