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Trial forms spine of back pain mythbusting

An all-encompassing clinical trial and systematic reviews into the management of chronic pain have won recognition among health professionals and been used to encourage the NHS to drop practices that don't work.

The School of Health Sciences and Social Care team, led by Professor Lorraine De Souza, has worked with a series of clinical contributors from the likes of the Royal National Orthopedic Hospital in Stanmore and the Zurich University of Applied Sciences to carry out research that directly affects clinical practice.

Research themes have included investigating the lived experience of chronic pain, the neurophysiology of back motor control and perceptual disturbances in chronic low back pain, while the group continues to be employed by the Cochrane Collaboration in producing systematic reviews of interventions for the management of back pain.

One such Cochrane review, into non-invasive brain stimulation techniques, has been used by the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE) to inform NHS practices – encouraging a reduction of some techniques that has resulted in money and resources being spared without the quality of NHS services being affected.

Internationally, Brunel research into chronic pain informed South African clinical guidelines for the management of neuropathic pain. Meanwhile, research was replicated extensively in 2012 as part of an educational booklet aimed at improving the diagnosis of inflammatory back pain and cited by the major public health campaign, 'Move4Health 2011: Challenging back pain myths' aimed at patients and clinicians in the Republic of Ireland.