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BMJ Open Sport Exerc Med



Assessing safety and treatment efficacy of running on intervertebral discs (ASTEROID) in adults with chronic low back pain: protocol for a randomised controlled trial.


Tagliaferri SD, Belavy DL, Bowe SJ, Clarkson MJ, Connell D, Craige EA, Gollan R, Main LC, Miller CT, Mitchell UH, Mundell NL, Neason C, Samanna CL, Scott D, Tait JL, Vincent GE, Owen PJ
BMJ Open Sport Exerc Med. 2023; 9(1):e001524.
PMID: 36684712.


Poor intervertebral disc (IVD) health is associated with low back pain (LBP). This 12-week parallel randomised controlled trial will evaluate the efficacy of a progressive interval running programme on IVD health and other clinical outcomes in adults with chronic LBP. Participants will be randomised to either a digitally delivered progressive interval running programme or waitlist control. Participants randomised to the running programme will receive three individually tailored 30 min community-based sessions per week over 12 weeks. The waitlist control will undergo no formal intervention. All participants will be assessed at baseline, 6 and 12 weeks. Primary outcomes are IVD health (lumbar IVD T2 via MRI), average LBP intensity over the prior week (100-point visual analogue scale) and disability (Oswestry Disability Index). Secondary outcomes include a range of clinical measures. All outcomes will be analysed using linear mixed models. This study has received ethical approval from the Deakin University Human Research Ethics Committee (ID: 2022-162). All participants will provide informed written consent before participation. Regardless of the results, the findings of this study will be disseminated, and anonymised data will be shared via an online repository. This will be the first study to evaluate whether a progressive interval running programme can improve IVD health in adults with chronic LBP. Identifying conservative options to improve IVD health in this susceptible population group has the potential to markedly reduce the burden of disease. This study was registered via the Australian New Zealand Clinical Trials Registry on 29 September 2022 (ACTRN12622001276741).