Update on the HELP Trial

Update on the Healthy Lifestyle for Low Back Pain Program (HELP) Randomised Controlled Trial

HELP trial logo

The NHMRC funded Healthy Lifestyle for Low Back Pain Program (HELP) Randomised Controlled Trial has finally begun piloting as of last week!

Over a year of planning the intervention, it is almost ready to go. We are currently piloting the patient appointments with physiotherapists, delivering the intervention and the processes involved in data collection and bookings.  A total of 4 patients have been booked in for appointments with the physiotherapists to pilot the intervention. So far the feedback has been positive and exciting! The very first patient rebooked for a follow-up appointment and was successfully referred to the Get Healthy Service.

There are a few finer details that still need to be ironed out before we hit the ground running with implementation including training days for survey interviewers, patient handouts and booking processes. We are aiming for plans to be finalised and to begin recruiting for the trial in August. We have a final goal of recruiting 346 patients to the trial so hopefully, we have some exciting updates towards the end of the year regarding recruitment.

International Symposium for Paediatric Pain 2017

International Symposium for Paediatric Pain 2017

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Chris and Steve travelled to Kuala Lumpur to check out a conference organised by the Children’s Special Interest Group of the International Association for the Study of Pain. Along with Zoe Michaleff from Keele University, UK, they ran a workshop aimed at stimulating discussion about the role pain has in the broad picture of children’s health. They presented epidemiological work Centre members have been involved with and facilitated a group discussion with the audience members including clinicians and researchers about practice and research directions. Over the course of the conference and the workshop two specific things became clear: one, clinicians and researchers in the paediatric field recognise that musculoskeletal pain is a problem, and two, there is a void when it comes to research that informs how to best coordinate primary care and public health services to address childhood musculoskeletal pain.

It is a situation the Centre for Pain, Health and Lifestyle is advancing through research-practice partnerships!

Centre work in the press


Work from Hopin, Chris and Steve has been gathering plenty of attention in the media lately. The review, led by Dr Gustavo Machado from the University of Sydney looked at mobile phone Apps for self-management of back pain. We found that although there are many Apps readily available for consumers, the quality of most is not great, and none have been evaluated to determine if they effectively support people to manage their pain. The review was highlighted by a number of news outlets, and discussed on the radio and TV programs. You can check out some of the coverage via the links below:

Emma Robson awarded NSW Health Scholarship

Emma Robson awarded NSW Health Scholarship

Emma was among the first awardees of a special scholarship for PhD students working closely with local health districts on June 5 (http://www.health.nsw.gov.au/ohmr/Pages/phd-scholarships-2017.aspx). The scholarships were extremely competitive, and Emma’s award is recognition of her outstanding potential as a researcher, and the strength and quality of the group. Emma will work on the NHMRC funded HELP study, which links healthy lifestyle support to clinical management for people with back pain. She is especially interested in the role that diet might play in improving the health of people with MSK pain.
We’re all looking forward to getting our teeth into it!


A/Prof Steve Kamper in Newfoundland

Steve travelled to St John’s, Newfoundland and attended the Primary Care Healthcare Partnership Forum (PriFor 2017). This is a small annual conference focused on research and service delivery in the province. He led a workshop on research methods with Amanda Hall from Memorial University in St John’s and Helen Richmond from Warwick University in England, and also gave a talk about reducing referrals to the orthopaedic and neurosurgery waiting lists at John Hunter Hospital in Newcastle.

One of the things that really hit home was the similarities between the issues and things going on in this foggy corner of the world, and what is happening in Australia. There was lots on the Choosing Wisely campaign that aims to reduce inappropriate and unnecessary testing and treatment, which clearly parallels similar work in Oz. There were also projects aimed at understanding what, how and why clinical decisions are being made in primary care, and research into facilitating self-management of various chronic conditions.