$10 million research project approved for chronic low back pain

Study to span four years

A new research project has been designed to address the question of what type of treatment works best for which type of patient with chronic low back pain, and what sequence of treatments is most beneficial for patients who do not respond to the first treatment attempted.

Julie Fritz, PhD, and a team at the University of Utah, will combine physical therapy with cognitive behavioral therapy in making these determinations. Nearly everyone experiences back pain at some point, making it one of the most common reasons for a visit to a healthcare provider.

Patients are often frustrated by the inability to find a treatment that works well for them. Several treatments provide some benefit to patients with chronic back pain, but it is difficult to know which patient may respond best to which treatment, or what combination of treatments may be helpful in assisting patients to achieve the outcomes they desire.

The plan is to enroll 500 patients and assess outcomes at baseline, six weeks, three months, six months, and one year. This study will be a randomized trial comparing the effectiveness of a first-line treatment of either physical therapy or cognitive behavioral therapy.

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