The Earl E. Bakken Center for Spirituality & Healing (CSH), a Consortium member, has been awarded the first phase of an $11.2 million grant from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) to study non-drug approaches to chronic low back pain, which could lead to reduced opioid use. Funding will support a Clinical Coordinating Center at the University of Minnesota and the University of Pittsburgh for a national multi-site clinical trial examining the effectiveness of spinal manipulation therapies (SMT) and supported self-management (SSM) compared to usual medical care. An additional $2.8 million was allocated for a Data Coordinating Center (DCC) at the University of Washington. “Identifying effective management and prevention strategies for back pain is a huge challenge,” said lead investigator Gert Bronfort, DC, PhD. “By examining promising, safe and accessible non-drug treatments . . . we hope to prevent acute low back pain from becoming chronic and to reduce over-reliance on medications and unnecessary surgeries.” According to the World Health Organization, low back pain is the leading cause of disability worldwide. One study of back patients in the Journal of the American Board of Family Medicine found more than half of the patients used opioids to treat pain.
This grant was awarded to the Center for Bioethics and Joint Degree Program in Law, Health & the Life Sciences to complete a comprehensive investigation of the ethical, legal, and policy issues in the use of genetic information in private and public disability insurance and to recommend policies based on the findings.