While the COVID-19 pandemic is interrupting access to some healthcare services, an innovative approach may hold the key to support for those with low back pain.
Researchers at the University of Sydney and the Kolling Institute have launched a study to measure the effectiveness of a mobile health program which offers self-management strategies via text messages.
Study lead Professor Manuela Ferreira said broader options for care are needed given the large number of people who experience the condition.
“Low back pain is the greatest cause of disability worldwide, impacting social, family and work activities,” she said.
“In Australia, it affects one in six people and is the main reason Australians miss work and retire involuntarily.
“People with low back pain need affordable interventions to help them manage their condition, and this mobile health program provides practical, evidenced-based strategies through text messages.
“Text messaging is an easy, accessible and affordable intervention that can empower people with low back pain to better manage their own symptoms. It can be used to support people anywhere, at any time of the day.”
Text messaging initiatives have been shown to help people with chronic diseases such as cardiovascular disease and diabetes.
“Our study, named TEXT4myBACK, is assessing two formats of text message interventions, which differ in frequency and content,” Professor Ferreira said.
“Researchers will then measure whether the text messages are improving function and back pain symptoms.
Musculoskeletal Australia is supporting the study and CEO Rob Anderson said they’re pleased to be involved.
“Most of us have a mobile phone and use it regularly. Receiving text messaging to help manage debilitating low back pain seems like such a simple, yet effective way to help so many Australians in need. We’re excited to be a part of this study and look forward to seeing the outcomes.”
The research team is recruiting for the project so if you have low back pain and would like to find out about participating in the study, visit bit.ly/TEXT4myBACK and complete the pre-screening survey.