Back Pain Research

We are a highly collaborative research team, engaging with researchers across a wide variety of disciplines. Working closely with multidisciplinary teams, including the Osteoarthritis Research Team, we are committed to designing and testing innovative, accessible, technology-based interventions that could speed recovery and decrease the burden of musculoskeletal pain globally. Our vision is to promote health and quality of life for the millions of people who experience back pain.

Our research focuses on evaluating common treatments for back pain, and developing innovative interventions including the use of digital health technology to improve management for the condition.

Our team is working to:

  • Investigate the causes of low back pain;
  • Improve management of low back pain by evaluating common treatments for the condition;
  • Improve the quality of life for people suffering from back pain.


Professor Manuela Ferreira

Medicine, Institute of Bone and Joint Research

The aim of the Institute of Bone and Joint Research is to advance the understanding of the musculoskeletal system. The main focus of our research includes clinical and translational research in back pain.

  • Surgery for Spinal Stenosis (SUcceSS) – the world’s first placebo-controlled trial of spinal surgery for people with lumbar spinal stenosis.
  • Text4MyBack – a study using text messages to support recovery of people suffering from back pain.
  • TANGO – a study aimed at tapering opioid medication use in older people with back pain, hip or knee osteoarthritis.
  • Development of a multidisciplinary model of care to reduce unnecessary surgery for low back pain
  • Development of a media campaign to improve awareness among consumers (patients and clinicians) of evidence-based management options for back pain
  • Get Back to Healthy trial – a study investigating whether a discharge support system involving a health coaching intervention (delivered by the Get Healthy Service®) can help support people with low back pain to keep healthy and reduce their use of additional health care after completing a program of hospital outpatient physiotherapy.
  • The EMPoweR study – a randomized clinical trial about eHealth to empower patients with musculoskeletal pain in rural Australia.
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