Limerick study encourages ‘personalised’ back pain treatment 

Rebecca Laffan

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Rebecca Laffan

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rebecca.laffan@limerickleader.ie

Limerick study encourages ‘personalised’ back pain treatment 

Tailoring treatments to individuals is more likely to yield success when it comes to back pain

RESEARCH carried out at University of Limerick (UL) has found that a “personalised approach” to back pain treatment can have a significant impact.

The study showed people who received personalised treatment, which specifically matched their health needs, did better than those who received similar recommended care in a non-personalised manner.

The study, which has just been published in the British Journal of Sports Medicine.was funded by the Irish Research Council and conducted in conjunction with the HSE and with international collaborators at Curtin University, Perth, Australia.

Speaking about the trial, principal investigator Dr O’Sullivan, a senior lecturer in physiotherapy at UL’s School of Allied Health, explained: “Right now, nobody can say any particular treatment will cure back pain.

“However, this trial - in line with some other recent trials internationally - highlights two important aspects; first, that back pain treatment likely requires us to address both physical and non-physical factors, even though most treatment currently overwhelmingly focuses only on the physical factors; and secondly, that there might be value in better tailoring treatments according to the needs of patients, so that they get the treatment they need, rather than what any particular clinician feels comfortable doing,” he added.

The study is titled Cognitive functional therapy compared with a group-based exercise and education intervention for chronic low back pain: a multicentre randomised controlled trial (RCT) by Mary O'Keeffe, Peter O'Sullivan, Helen Purtill, Norma Bargary and Kieran O'Sullivan.