Back pain is the leading cause of disability worldwide and results in substantial personal and societal costs. A quarter of Australians report low back pain at any one time. However, over 90% of all low back pain problems cannot be attributed to a serious cause (such as fracture, cancer, infection) and are termed as non-specific low back pain.
Most people with non-specific back pain recover within six weeks. Staying active, getting informed and avoiding bed rest usually speeds up recovery. However, many people continue to experience chronic low back pain for months or even years and some are unable to continue their work.
In general, non-drug interventions such as exercise, cognitive behaviour therapy and mindfulness are recommended for the management of chronic low back pain rather than drug and surgical approaches. However, non-drug interventions for chronic low back pain still offer limited effects to reduce pain and disability.
Our research approaches
NeuRA aims to understand why some people with low back pain do not recover and develop chronic low back pain. We are also developing and testing new interventions to prevent and treat chronic low back pain.
Our research discoveries
Through our RESOLVE trial, we have been investigating the effectiveness of new non-drug treatment programs for people suffering from chronic low back pain. Research shows that there are changes in the brain when someone has pain for a long period of time. It is believed that these changes make recovery from pain slower and more difficult. Using the knowledge of the brain and how it changes with pain, researchers at NeuRA developed two new treatment programs for chronic low back pain.