Technology to bring relief to those with low back pain

With many of us looking to adopt a healthier lifestyle, researchers say a new approach may not only deliver benefits for your heart and waistline but may reduce low back pain as well.

The condition affects one in six Australians or four million people and is the leading cause of adult musculoskeletal pain worldwide.

Researchers from the University of Sydney and the Kolling Institute have launched an innovative study to assist those with low back pain, and they’re urging those with the debilitating condition to join the trial.

Professor Manuela Ferreira said research has shown us that low back pain is the number one cause of disability worldwide, greatly impacting social, family and work activities.

“We know low back pain is the main reason Australians miss work and retire involuntarily,” she said.

“Low back pain also contributes to a lack of physical activity, increasing the risk of other chronic diseases.”

Professor Ferreira said learning how to self-manage low back pain is particularly important, and the TEXT4myBACK study will investigate whether a lifestyle-based text message intervention can help people do just that.

Two different formats of text message interventions are being assessed and participants will receive one of two interventions which differ in their frequency and content.

The messages will contain educational information about low back pain and self-management strategies.

The study will measure whether the text messages improve function and patient confidence in managing their symptoms.

“We’re keen to measure the effectiveness of this new mobile health approach.

“Text messaging is an easy, accessible and affordable intervention that can empower people with low back pain to better manage their own symptoms. It can be used to remotely support people anywhere, at any time of the day.

“It has been shown to help people with other chronic diseases, such as cardiovascular disease and diabetes engage in a healthier lifestyle.

“Text messages have helped people lose weight, stop smoking and increase their exercise participation levels.

“The study is receiving a positive response, with participants able to join remotely, as long as they have access to a phone and internet coverage.

“This is a great option for many Australians who do not have easy access to specialised care or support to receive evidence-based information on how to care for their spinal health.”

To find out more, follow

To express interest in participating in the study, click on and complete the pre-screening survey.