Back Complaints in Elders – Chiropractic: Australia

  • De Luca, Katie (Primary Chief Investigator)
  • Hartvigsen, J. (Chief Investigator)
  • French, Simon (Chief Investigator)
  • Rubinstein, Sidney (Chief Investigator)
  • Ferreira, Manuela (Chief Investigator)

Project: Other

Project Details

Description

A 12-month prospective, longitudinal analysis of older people with low back pain who seek chiropractic care.
CAA National has called for high-quality chiropractic research in the areas outlined by the Tertiary Education and Research Committee: a) Chiropractic and the Australian Healthcare System and b) The Burden of Disease and Relevance to Chiropractic. This study is a 12-month prospective, longitudinal cohort study of older Australians with low back pain (LBP) who seek chiropractic care. It will report the clinical course of LBP and determine the outcomes of chiropractic care in older Australians who have LBP. Importantly, this study will provide valuable evidence that will define and strengthen the role that chiropractors play as primary care providers of spinal health care to older Australians.

a) Chiropractic and the Australian Healthcare System: While it is known that 12.9% of chiropractic patients in Australia are aged ≥65 years,1 there is a complete lack of data on the clinical course of LBP in older Australians who seek chiropractic care. As a result, there is very little research evidence to complement clinical experience while providing patient-centered care to older Australians. Australian chiropractors are familiar with the ACORN project, a large practitioner-based research network.2 Using ACORN, this study will recruit chiropractors to access community dwelling, older Australian chiropractic patients to obtain population-based data on the costs, safety and satisfaction of chiropractic care for the treatment of LBP in older Australians. This study is profession-specific research that will focus on defining the role of chiropractic in the Australian healthcare system for older Australians who have LBP. This information will assist chiropractic representation when engaging with healthcare policymakers, and will lead to opportunities to inform Australian healthcare policy.

b) The Burden of Disease and Relevance to Chiropractic. LBP is one of the most highly prevalent and costly health conditions in the world. Globally, the burden of LBP is ranked 6th, but in Australasia it is ranked first.3, 4 One in four older Australians have LBP.5 LBP in older people is more incapacitating than in younger people,6, 7 and it is also associated with poorer physical health8, 9 and non-recovery.10 With an ageing population, where 6.2 million Australians will be aged older than 65 by 2042,11 LBP will have an increasingly large burden on the Australian economy. This study exclusively focuses on the burdensome condition of LBP in older Australians who seek care from a chiropractor. The study is of particular relevance to the CAA, as LBP already places a high cost upon the personal health, finances and productivity of the Australian community. This longitudinal study will measure pain, disability and psychosocial variables in older Australians with LBP over a 12-month period. It will describe the role of chiropractors in improving health outcomes for older Australians who have LBP, providing valuable evidence that chiropractors are appropriately placed as primary care providers of spinal health care to older Australians.

The back pain in elders (BACE) consortium is an international cohort study examining back complaints in older people in primary care.12 A European research group is currently setting-up a BACE-chiropractic cohort, and this study will join the global collaboration to explicitly explore LBP in older Australian chiropractic patients. This international collaboration is particularly important for Australian researchers who will partner with European researchers experienced in large, chiropractic-based cohort studies.

CAA National has outlined its desire to fund research that is vital to the allocation of future healthcare research and resources. This 12-month, prospective, longitudinal cohort study will provide critical data to close the significant gap in the literature on the clinical course of LBP in older Australians, as well as the costs, safety and satisfaction of chiropractic care for the treatment treatment of LBP in this group.
StatusActive
Effective start/end date14/01/1930/06/22