The Game-Changing Papers: The Lancet Publish Research Papers on Low Back Pain

Author: @NewellDave
Read: 3 Minutes

A series of game-changing research papers concerning low back pain were published in the prestigious UK medical journal The Lancet. Top researchers from around the world have brought together the latest research concerning this very common, costly and sometimes debilitating condition. 

The first of a series of 4 articles with lead author, globally recognised expert and chiropractor Professor Jan Hartvigsen outlines why LBP is so important. It reminds us that LBP is the leading cause of disability globally and go on to say that despite most episodes being short lasting, recurrent episodes are common and LBP should be seen as a long-lasting condition that needs managing throughout the life course. Lifestyle factors such as smoking, being significantly over weight and low levels of activity are associated with the occurrence of LBP and the burden of this condition on our health and our health care systems is set to rise over the coming years

In another paper looking at treatment and prevention with lead author and physiotherapy academic Professor Nadine Foster, the authors explain how overwhelming evidence now suggests the first line of treatment should be non-drug approaches including helping patients resume their normal lives and activities with guidance and support to manage their pain. Recent American and UK guidelines suggest one of these approaches could include manual therapy such as provided by chiropractors and others. Scientific guidelines also increasingly tell us that routine imaging such as X rays and MRI may cause more harm than good in in most LBP as they may generate unnecessary alarm with normal variation in anatomy that may have nothing to do with the LBP. In addition, drugs such as ibuprofen and paracetamol may carry risks but give no better outcomes that simple hands on conservative care that includes exercise advice and education about the non-threatening nature of most LBP. Lastly surgery should be a very last resort and most guidelines suggest that fusion and disc replacements may be no better than other more conservative approaches but be highly costly and risky. The authors recommend amongst other solutions the redesigning of clinical pathways to allow more access to best practice conservative care.

At AECC University College we are committed to ever increasing support for our research in the musculoskeletal system and conditions including how chiropractors may work more closely with GPs and the NHS in providing their evidence based conservative care. We are also involved in other areas related to LBP such as increasing people’s activity through exercise, participation in sport and psychological aspects that support happier and healthier lives for our students, patients and communities.

We at AECC University College are at the cutting edge of evidence-based chiropractic education and aim to continue to be a leading voice in the professions education and research generation.

The evidence as reiterated by these recent Lancet papers now overwhelmingly supports conservative approaches that includes chiropractic care as one of the options for LBP with other evidence strongly supporting conservative approaches to a number of other MSK problems.

There is no better time to become a chiropractor or a health expert, all of which we offer at the highest levels at the AECC University College. The future is bright for those that want to make a real evidence based integrated health impact on our communities and our nation.

Such a future, your future, could be here with us.

Discover more about our latest research and our undergraduate and postgraduate courses and find out how you can be at the forefront of shaping the future of healthcare.