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Special edition on Back Pain in Best Practice Clinical & Research Rheumatology



The 2024 Global Year will examine what is known about sex and gender differences in pain perception and modulation and address sex-and gender-related disparities in both the research and treatment of pain.

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Best Practice Clinical & Research Rheumatology is one of the leading journals in the Rheumatology field, and it has a rather unusual format. Each edition is a collection of 10 articles on a particular theme or condition. A special edition on Back Pain comes up about every 4 years or so, and this time around we were invited to edit the edition.

The process involved coming up with a series of topics that we think are important to patients, clinicians and researchers in the field, and then inviting experts from around the world to write a paper on one of those topics. From the start we had a couple of things in mind for each paper.

  1. We wanted each article to give a concise overview of the available research on the topic. This means that the edition serves as sort of ‘state of the art’ of research evidence relevant to various aspects of back pain.
  2. We also wanted each article to outline the important methodological considerations relevant to the topic. The aim here is to give readers a primer to help them appraise further research as it comes out.

We also had a secret agenda; to have as many of these papers as possible led by talented early career researchers. With 7 of the 10 articles are led by researchers within 5 years of finishing their PhD, we think we managed this pretty well. The idea was to provide a fresh perspective on important topics, and also give readers some exposure to the names that we believe are going to move this field forward in the coming years.

We are pretty happy (and a bit proud :)) with the way the edition came together, and extremely appreciative of the hard work of all the author teams. Hopefully you enjoy this series of posts, and of course the papers themselves. If you can’t get hold of any of the papers and would like an e-copy, please get in touch with either of us and we’ll send it to you.


Steve Kamper and Chris Williams

Article titles

  1. Evidence and methods in back pain research. Kamper SJ, Williams CM.
  2. Clinical guidelines for low back pain: A critical review of consensus and inconsistencies across three major guidelines. O’Connell N, et al.
  3. Health economic evidence gaps and methodological constraints in low back pain and neck pain: Results of the Research Agenda for Health Economic Evaluation project. van Dongen J, et al.
  4. Behaviour change and self-management interventions in persistent low back pain. Mansell G, et al.
  5. Choosing the right outcome measurement instruments for patients with low back pain. Chiarotto A, et al.
  6. The prevalence, risk factors, prognosis and treatment for back pain in children and adolescents: An overview of systematic reviews. Kamper SJ, et al.
  7. Understanding cultural influences on back pain and back pain research. Henschke N, et al.
  8. Developing implementation science to improve the translation of research to address low back pain: A critical review. Hodder RK, et al.
  9. Causal mechanisms in the clinical course and treatment of back pain. Lee H, et al.
  10. Decision support tools in low back pain. Coupé VMH, et al.
  11. Smartphone apps for the self-management of low back pain: A systematic review. Machado GC, et al.

About Steve Kamper

Steve Kamper ResearcherSteve Kamper studied Physiotherapy at Sydney University and after a brief period subjecting people to his questionable clinical skills was lured/banished into the world of research. After doing his PhD at the George Institute he spent three years as a postdoc at the VU University in Amsterdam, a time packed full of patient expectations, systematic reviews, travel and cheese. He is now an Associate Professor in the School of Public Health, University of Sydney. Most of his research involves investigating MSK pain in children and adolescents, and trying to figure out where pain fits within a broader view of health. The latter is the focus of the Centre for Pain, Health and Lifestyle (https://centrephl.org) which is an initiative aimed at marrying clinical and population health perspectives to better organise services for people with pain. Outside of research he spends his time running, riding, playing football and overthinking.

About Chris Williams

Chris Williams Clinical Research FellowChris is a NHRMC Clinical Research Fellow (ECF), population health physiotherapist and aspiring implementation scientist. He leads the Hunter New England Musculoskeletal Health Program, which he established in 2013 with the Hunter New England Population Health, at the Hunter New England Local Health District and Hunter Medical Research Institute, University of Newcastle. The program is a research-practice partnership that focuses on enhancing the organisation of clinical and population health services for chronic pain and associated health risks and chronic disease. Chris’s research interests include the use of novel methods to conduct efficient research trials in real world contexts to test intervention strategies that target patient level and health service level (implementation) outcomes. In 2016, Chrisestablished (with Steve Kamper) the Centre for Pain, Health and Lifestyle, a multi-institutional collaboration, which aims to improve musculoskeletal health and co-morbid health problems across the lifespan, particularly in childhood and adolescence. Chris has qualifications in Exercise Science and Physiotherapy, and completed his PhD in 2013 at the George Institute for Global Health and University of Sydney.

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