Productive Partnerships

Faculty of Health Sciences, The University of Sydney

Integrating mobile-health and physical activity to reduce the burden of chronic low back pain Trial (IMPACT)

Nearly 4 million people suffer from low back pain (LBP) in Australia with an estimation that 70–90% of people will be affected by it at some point in their lives. Back problems can be caused by issues associated with posture and injuries, diseases such as osteoarthritis, disc disease, osteoporosis, and some genetic conditions. Relapses in episodes leading to additional care and surgery are common, making LBP the highest contributor to disability in the world.

According to the Global Burden of Disease estimates, low back pain is ranked first in Australasia (including Australia and New Zealand), compared to sixth in the world.

In partnership with Medibank Better Health Foundation, The University of Sydney Faculty of Health Sciences is undertaking a study to investigate the effectiveness of mobile-health (m-health) and physical activity to reduce the burden of chronic low back pain. M-health has great potential in health care as it not only improves information access but also encourages the consumer to be more actively involved in managing their health. Using m-health for chronic LBP could offer relief for many Australians with half of those suffering not seeking care. Structured exercise has proven effective in the management of LBP, however simply advising patients to exercise is unlikely to be sustainable. Exercise programs that are interdisciplinary, supervised and individually designed have the greatest potential for helping LBP sufferers. With LBP being one of the most costly conditions to manage in Australia, this study will work towards reducing the burden of chronic LBP.

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