Review of The Lancet Article: Low back pain a call to action (Part Three)
On the Chiropractic Forward podcast this week, we are going continue a review of a recent paper published on low back pain that we hope will have a powerful impact in the months and years to follow. This week it will be a review of paper #3 from the Lancet series – low back pain a call to action.
Before we get started, I want to draw your attention our website at chiropracticforward.com. Just below the area where you can listen to the latest episode, you’ll see an area where you can sign up for our newsletter. I’d like to encourage you to sign up. It’s just an email about once a week to let you know when the episode is updated and what it’s about. Also, if something brand new pops up, we’ll be able to tell you about it quickly and easily.
Welcome to the podcast today, you have strolled right into episode 17. I’m Dr. Jeff Williams and I’m your host for the Chiropractic Forward podcast where we talk about issues related to health, chiropractic, evidence, chiropractic advocacy, and research. Thank you for taking time out of your day I know your time is valuable and I want to fill it with value so here we go. And this week it’s low back pain a call to action.
As I mentioned at the top of the show, this week, I want to continue with the series published in The Lancet on March 21, 2018. For a quick re-cap this week…. The Lancet is one of the oldest and most respected medical journals in the world. It has been around since 1823. In addition to the credibility of the journal, this series of papers dealing with Low Back Pain was compiled and authored by the leading experts on the matter globally. On top of that, the experts were a group of interdisciplinary practitioners which meant they ranged from medical doctors and PhD’s, to physical therapists and chiropractors.
Essentially, EVERYONE had a seat at the table so, it is the general consensus at this point that this series of papers is as current, as credible, and as accurate as can be had at this point in time and in our understanding of Low Back Pain.
The three papers were broken down as follows:
- What low back pain is and why we need to pay attention.
- Prevention and treatment of low back pain: evidence, challenges, and promising directions.
- Low back pain a call to action.
Last week, we reviewed the first of the three papers which was titled, “What low back pain is and why we need to pay attention.” We went through it note by note and section by section trying to strip away the embellishments to simply boil it down to a leisure read and, hopefully, an enjoyable learning process.
We will do the same this week with the third paper of the series titled, “Low back pain a call to action.”
I want to start this week in the same way we started last week: by discussing how the papers were accomplished.
How They Did It
For this paper, again titled “What low back pain is and why we need to pay attention,” the researchers identified scientific studies through searches of databases:
•African Index Medicus Database
In order to ensure a high-quality standard, systematic reviews were shown preference for inclusion.
This week, we’re going to review the last of the three papers from a recent series published in The Lancet on March 21, 2018. If you don’t know the impact or why this series is so important, please review the last two episodes of the Chiropractic Forward Podcast at www.chiropracticforward.com or the last two articles of my blog over at amarillochiropractor.com/blog. That will get you up to speed. In short, the series on low back pain was compiled and authored by an international panel of experts on the matter. Essentially, the best of the best.
This series is as up to date, as current, and as reliable as can be had at this point in our understanding for low back pain so it is worth your time and attention.
This last of the three papers is titled “Low Back Pain A Call To Action.”
We have already covered several times that low back pain is now the leading cause of disability globally and is only growing in significance because the global population is living longer. The issue may be more profound in low to middle-income countries. In addition, most low back pain doesn’t even appear to be directly related to any specific trigger or origin.
Some of the key areas for improvement for the treatment of low back pain are in health & workplace policies as well as disability benefits and payments. They claim they are wasteful and can certainly stand a re-boot.
The panel suggests the following:
- Address the political aspect. They recommend calling on the World Health Organization to make low back pain one of its priorities by putting it on the target list in an effort to increase attention and decrease treatment that is not recommended initially. They recommend calling on political, medical, and social leaders to make sure public health initiatives are properly funded and geared toward the prevention of low back pain and treatment.
- Public health challenge.
- Change priorities – Make low back pain a priority. Create and implement ways to prevent it and combine these strategies with other strategies that are chronic and somewhat related. Strategies such as weighing the right amount, being active physically, and maintaining good mental health as well. These tactics treat more than simply low back pain. The panel also recommends strategies that can modify the factors putting the population at risk of developing low back pain.
- Change systems and change practice – Provide early recommendations for maintaining work load as much as possible and/or return to work as quickly as possible. Attempt to ensure early ID of people that are at risk of developing long-term, chronic disability as a result of low back pain. Address co-morbidities raising a person’s risk of developing low back pain and promote a healthier lifestyle in addition to altering disability benefits and get people back to work as soon as possible. And lastly, address low back pain through multidisciplinary rehabilitation in an effort to return the patient to work quickly.
- Healthcare challenge –
- Change culture – The panel appears to me to be promoting the use of a Public Relations campaign to focus and promote living well with low back pain, self-management, staying healthy, and to change the public perception of low back pain.
- Change clinician behavior –
- Change systems – There is a need to develop and implement systems allowing a patient to receive the right care at the right time. Clinical pathways will need a re-boot and will need to become consistent across interdisciplinary lines and differing clinical settings.
- Tackle Vested Interests – The panel discusses the fact that governments and insurance companies need to regulate in a manner consistent with evidence-based treatment for low back pain and eliminate conflicts of interest. Regulation through contracts, and payment schedules for treatments with little to no evidence for effectiveness.
The idea that a healthy weight and regular physical activity will help reduce low back pain must enter the global subconscious through public programs, especially in low to middle-income countries.
An assertion I fully agree with the authors on is that, thus far, healthcare dollars have been wasted on treatments that are ineffective and, many times, downright dangerous. The risk vs. reward ration just doesn’t make sense more times than not currently. No too mention the issue of opioid addiction which we all should know the stats on by now.
Boiling it down, the panel aims to get rid of practices that harm and create waste while, at the same time, opening the door to effective and affordable means of treating low back pain to patients in need. The authors are quoted here as saying,”Protection of the public from unproven or harmful approaches to managing low back pain requires that governments and health-care leaders tackle entrenched and counterproductive reimbursement strategies, vested interests, and financial and professional incentives that maintain the status quo.”
The authors promote the idea of implementing a positive health concept as the umbrella idea aiming for prevention of long-term disability. This includes alternative to treatments and cures and promotes more meaningful lives. This truly is a low back pain a call to action recommendation.
Another great quote from this third paper is as follows, “Improved training and support of primary care doctors and other professionals engaged in activity and lifestyle facilitation, such as physiotherapists, chiropractors, nurses, and community workers, could minimize the use of unnecessary medical care.”
“Improved training and support of primary care doctors and other professionals engaged in activity and lifestyle facilitation, such as physiotherapists, chiropractors, nurses, and community workers, could minimize the use of unnecessary medical care.”
The panel also calls for an active monitoring system in order to assess and keep an eye on the recommendations implementation as well as the outcomes of the changes.
To read more for yourself, follow this link to the third paper:
If access is unavailable, just simply register at The Lancet. It is completely free of charge.
If you are research minded, if you are a low back pain patient, or if you are a practitioner regularly coming in contact with low back pain patients, it is my opinion that taking the time to read these three papers yourself is of utmost importance.
Please find the links to the papers in the “References” section and get it done. Together, we can make a big, big difference in the lives of our low back pain patients. Without a doubt.
For this week’s next step, go register with The Lancet and get this paper for free! You just have to register. That’s it.
We hope you enjoyed this week’s paper called “Low back pain a call to action.” We’ll go through it bit by bit and hit the highlights for those of you that aren’t into reading research papers and things of that sort. Don’t miss it!
If you love what you hear, be sure to check out www.chiropracticforward.com. As this podcast builds, so will the website with more content, products, and chances to learn.
We cannot wait to connect again with you next week. From Creek Stone, my office here in Amarillo, TX, home of the Chiropractic Forward Podcast flight deck, this is Dr. Jeff Williams saying upward, onward, and forward.
Other episodes you may enjoy:
Paper 1 – “What low back pain is and why we need to pay attention: https://www.thelancet.com/journals/lancet/article/PIIS0140-6736(18)30480-X/fulltext
Paper 2 “Prevention and treatment of low back pain: evidence, challenges, and promising directions.”: https://www.thelancet.com/journals/lancet/article/PIIS0140-6736(18)30489-6/fulltext
Paper 3 – “Low back pain: a call for action”: https://www.thelancet.com/journals/lancet/article/PIIS0140-6736(18)30488-4/fulltext