International Back and Neck Pain Forum 2017

The International Back and Neck Pain Forum 2017

The Centre had a big presence at the recent International Back and Neck Pain Forum in Oslo. The Forum is a meeting that gathers together the best researchers in the world in the primary care space. If you’re interested in any of the studies particularly you can click on the links to look at the abstracts.

Amanda gave two oral presentations; describing her systematic review of MSK pain as a risk factor for chronic disease, and the mediation study aimed on understanding treatment effect mechanisms in two RCTs. Both the talks went really well and generated plenty of discussion. Hopin picked up an award (for the 2nd Forum in a row!) for a poster on a mediation study looking at the mechanisms of pain education interventions, he also participated in the new ‘Speaker’s Corner’ section, outlining the challenges of incorporating consideration of implementation in the design of clinical research. Kate, Bruno and Tie couldn’t make it to Oslo, but had a poster each. In particular, Tie’s systematic review of backpack usage and back pain in children generated a big buzz, and plenty of interest on twitter afterwards. Mike and Steve both spoke in a session focused on pain in children. Mike described the results of his systematic review looking at the relationship between pubertal development and pain, and Steve talked about a study that shows links between pain frequency and smoking, alcohol use, and mental health in adolescents.

Chris, Steve and Hopin presented two workshops which were really about serving up the ideas and background to the work Centre for public consumption to see what other researchers in the field think about what we are doing. One more focused on children (with Zoe Michaleff from Keele) and the other on adults (with James McAuley from NeuRA). Both of them ended with half an hour of discussion from the conference attendees.

At different times all of us received lots of really positive feedback; both about the quality of what we are doing, and the ideas that we are exploring. It was especially nice to get this reinforcement from some of the biggest names in the back pain research world. I think we made an impression on the conference generally, and left with some great energy to keep things going.


Mechanism evaluation of a lifestyle behavioural intervention for patients with low back pain who are overweight or obese
Amanda Williams, Hopin Lee, John Wiggers, Steve Kamper, Kate O’Brien, Rebecca Hodder1, Luke Wolfenden, Sze Lin Yoong, Elizabeth Campbell, Robin Haskins, Emma Robson, James McAuley, Christopher Williams

Adverse health risk indicators in adolescents with back pain
Steve Kamper, Christopher Williams, Zoe Michaleff, Paul Campbell, Kate Dunn

The relationship between growth, maturity, and spinal pain in adolescents: a systematic review
Michael Swain, Steve Kamper, Chris Maher, Carolyn Broderick, Damien Mckay, Nicholas Henschke

Do musculoskeletal conditions increase the risk of chronic disease: a systematic review and meta-analysis of longitudinal cohort studies
Amanda Williams, Steve Kamper, John Wiggers, Kate O’Brien, Hopin Lee, Luke Wolfenden, Sze Lin Yoong, Emma Robson, James McAuley, Jan Hartvigsen, Christopher Williams

Understanding how patient education improves outcomes for patients with acute low back pain. Causal mediation analysis of the PREVENT trial
Hopin Lee, Markus Hübscher, Adrian Traeger, Ian Skinner, Steve Kamper, G. Lorimer Moseley, James McAuley

Is schoolbag use a risk factor for back pain? A systematic reviewl
Tiê Yamato, Chris Maher, Christopher Williams, Adrian Traeger, Steve Kamper

Clinimetric testing of the Lumbar Spinal Instability Questionnaire
Bruno Saragiotto1, Chris Maher, Chad Cook, Charles New, Mark Catley, Mark Hancock, Paul Hodges

Acceptance of telephone-based weight management and healthy lifestyle intervention among patients with low back and neck pain
Kate O’Brien, John Wiggers, Amanda Williams, Elizabeth Campbell, Rebecca Hodder, Luke Wolfenden, Sze Lin Yoong, Christopher Williams


Lifestyle-related health risks and low back pain: potential for impact but where to next?
Christopher M Williams, Steven J Kamper, James McAuley, Hopin Lee

Is musculoskeletal pain part of the public health picture in children?
Steven J Kamper, Christopher M Williams, Zoe A Michaleff

Simplifying complex interventions: A unique approach to informing implementation strategies
Hopin Lee, Christopher Williams, Steve Kamper, Rebecca Hodder, Luke Wolfenden


Back pain special edition in Best Practice and Research Clinical Rheumatology

Back pain special edition in Best Practice & Research Clinical Rheumatology


Since last year Steve and Chris have been editing a special edition on back pain in the leading rheumatology journal: Best Practice and Research Clinical Rheumatology. The job involved inviting 10 groups of authors from around the world to write a paper that reports the current state of the evidence and the major methodological issues related to a particular aspect of low back pain.

We’ve been busy reviewing and working with the authors of each paper over the past 6 months, and they are gradually appearing online. The edition should be in print in October-November this year, we’re pretty proud of our research baby so are really looking forward to the big day! We managed to gather a super talented group of researchers and reckon the edition is going to prove a great resource for clinicians and researchers in the area. What’s even more special; 6 of the 10 papers are led by Early Career Researchers – either PhD students, or postdocs within 5 years of completing.

Here is a little taste; the overview which sets out the papers in the edition has just been published online, see full paper here.

Causal mechanisms of a lifestyle intervention for patients with LBP and OA

Causal mechanisms of a lifestyle intervention for patients with LBP and OA

News Hopin

We’re getting more and more interested in understanding how our interventions might work, or why they may not work. To do this, we’re using causal mediation analyses to tease out how much of the treatment effect is channelled through hypothesised mechanisms (or the targets of our treatments). We think this is particularly important to do because our treatments are often multi-faceted (ie. complex interventions) and are therefore likely to work through multiple mechanisms. Knowing which mechanisms are at play could guide how we implement effective interventions. If the intervention is ineffective, knowing which mechanisms were faulty would give us useful information to go back to the drawing board to adapt our interventions.

Amanda will be presenting the results of this paper at the next Back and Neck Pain forum in Oslo, and we have almost prepared a draft of the main paper.

New Research Funding

New Research Funding!


Researchers at the CPHL have been awarded a research funding from the University of Newcastle. These grants are for pilot projects that will be developed in the centre during 2017 and will serve to base our future projects grants. Congratulations Tie, Hopin and Bruno.

  • Explaining pain for kids: the best approach $8,000 (AUD) | Tie Yamato, Christopher Williams, Steven Kamper, Luke Wolfenden, Lorimer Moseley, Anna Palagyi
    Faculty of Health and Medicine, University of Newcastle
    Early Career Researcher Linkage Pilot Research Grant Scheme.
  • Protecting parents and children against dubious health claims – Implementing the ‘Informed Health Choices Initiative’ $2,000 (AUD) | Hopin Lee, Christopher Williams, Steven Kamper, Luke Wolfenden
    Faculty of Health and Medicine, University of Newcastle
    Early Career Researcher Strategic Pilot Grant
  • Barriers and bridges to implementing telehealth strategies for pain management $2,000 (AUD) | Bruno Saragiotto, Christopher Williams, Steven Kamper, Anna Palagyi
    Faculty of Health and Medicine Early Career Researcher Strategic Pilot Grant

Taking the Centre to the States

Taking the Centre to the States!

CPHL States

Steve was recently in Chicago where he was giving a course on evidence-based practice and research methods for clinicians with Neil O’Connell from Brunel University, London. The last day of the course was centred around the epidemiology and treatment of back pain. There was the chance to talk about back pain from the public health perspective, and describe some of what we are doing at the Centre. It was great to have a chance to discuss our work and plans with clinicians from the US, and hear their enthusiasm for incorporating a broad view of health generally into clinical practice.