Walking With(out) Pain - WWoP

Welcome to the walking with(out) pain study!

Low back pain is both common and complex. The longer someone experiences back pain, the greater the impact on functioning and well-being. The current recommended treatment for low back pain includes medication, exercise therapy and psychosocial support. Digital programs can improve access to such treatment. 

About the study

NeuRA has combined forces with the eCentreClinic at Macquarie University to pilot a digital program for people 50 years and over experiencing low back pain for 3 months or longer.

This study will test an internet-delivered pain course and tailored walking program supported by telehealth coaching. 

The study will help determine whether our program can improve physical activity levels, pain management and emotional well-being. 

What is involved

The study is 6 months in duration.

Eligible participants will be asked to attend NeuRA (Randwick) on one occasion to complete a baseline assessment. This will include some basic physical and cognitive tests and includes an MRI scan of your brain. The MRI is a safe and painless procedure.

After the assessment, you will be randomly allocated to 1 of 2 groups. The 2 groups allow us to compare the effectiveness of our program. 

Group 1: You will be asked to follow your usual activities and complete follow-up questionnaires at 15-weeks and 6‑months. You will not be asked to do the digital program during this time. After the 6‑months, you will be enrolled into our online program (the Pain Course) and given access to a walking program. 

Group 2: You will be asked to participate in a digital program (see details below) for 14-weeks and complete follow-up questionnaires at 15-weeks and 6‑months. The digital program can be done entirely from home. There are no study-related tasks between the 15-week follow-up and 6‑month follow-up. 

The digital program involves:

  • A web-based psychological program (the Pain Course) that aims to teach you practical skills for managing chronic pain in a day-to-day context, with support from a psychologist.
  • A tailored and progressive walking program designed to get you walking more and sticking to it regularly.
  • Telehealth coaching from an exercise physiologist to support your new physical activity habits. 

Eligibility criteria

You may be suited to participate in this study if you are:

  • Aged 50 years or older;
  • Living with chronic low back pain for 3 months or longer; 
  • Living independently in the community;
  • Able to walk for 100 metres without stopping OR 300 metres with stopping (with or without walking aid);
  • Able to communicate (verbal and written) and understand English proficiently;
  • Have access to a computer or tablet and internet;
  • Residing within the Sydney Metropolitan area; 
  • Not currently at risk of self-harm or suicide;
  • Willing to participate in the study and able to provide informed consent. 

This trial has now completed recruitment.