New Approaches to Understanding Back Pain – a talk by Professor Alan Breen

Alan Breen is Professor of Musculoskeletal Research at AECC University College and Director of the Centre for Biomechanics Research. He is Clinical Director for Special Imaging, responsible for establishing the Bournemouth Open Upright MRI service and Quantitative Fluoroscopy (QF). Alan is also Professor of Musculoskeletal Research in the Faculty of Science and Technology at Bournemouth University

Alan recently gave a virtual talk to the Bournemouth Natural Science Society, outlining how the study, diagnosis and treatment of low back pain has evolved over the course of the twentieth and twenty-first centuries.

In this insightful lecture, he explains how back pain is complex and why it is often difficult to determine the cause and diagnosis. He outlines how the rate of low back pain and back injury has fluctuated throughout modern history, culminating in a rise of incapacity due to low back pain at the end of the last century.

Alan traces humanity’s progress from the very early responses to back pain by ancient societies, to the more recent (now outdated) recommendation of bed rest as a cure for low back pain, to new collaborative models for treatment.

He outlines recent initiatives towards understanding back pain better, explaining how patients can benefit from this increased understanding, and how we can improve our understanding further. He describes how more recent modelling of the causes of low back pain can improve and individualise treatment.

Alan explains how identifying more biomarkers of low back pain is crucial to providing patients with more scientifically-based care. Biomarkers are objectively measurable factors that correlate with disease, such as high blood glucose with diabetes.  

Alan finishes his presentation by talking his audience through the research that the Centre of Biomechanics Research recently undertook into low back pain in astronauts, here at AECC University College.

You can watch Alan’s presentation here: