Low back pain research

Low back pain is the leading cause of disability globally. It is very common, with 80% of people experiencing back pain during their lifetime. Although low back pain causes significant pain and impaired physical function, there are currently limited treatments.

We manage clinical trials to support the use of novel or repurposed treatments that have been proven to be effective.

Randomised controlled trials are the most rigorous type of clinical trials, that demonstrate effect by allowing comparison with a neutral (control) group that do not receive the drug or therapy being investigated.

Is antibiotic treatment effective in the management of chronic low back pain?

It’s believed that some types of back pain may result from infection in a spinal disc, and individuals with this type of back pain may benefit from antibiotic treatment. While antibiotics (such as Amoxycillin clavulanic acid) are commonly used to treat different types of infection, there is limited evidence to show antibiotics are effective for low back pain.

The aim of this clinical trial is to determine whether antibiotics are effective in the management of chronic low back pain.

If we find that Amoxycillin clavulanic acid is effective, it will potentially enable this treatment to be considered by more individuals. Conversely, if we don’t find evidence of effectiveness, it allows clinicians to avoid this treatment, in favour of others that may work.

This study is funded by NHMRC. We anticipate completion by December 2022.

Metformin for Low Back Pain

We are now recruiting participants for this trial. Click here to find out more.

This is a randomised clinical trial with the aim to investigate the effect of metformin on low back pain and function.

Metformin is a type 2 diabetes medication that works by preventing the production of sugar in the liver, and is a widely used and effective treatment for patients with type 2 diabetes mellitus. The main effect of metformin is to reduce blood glucose levels, resulting in sustained modest weight loss, and lowering of lipids (fats) and inflammation.

There is emerging evidence suggesting metformin may have the potential to reduce pain in people with low back pain, and we are adding to this evidence base.

Metformin is well-tolerated, inexpensive and has a long history of safe clinical use, so if it is shown to be effective, it will offer an exciting opportunity to improve pain and function in those with low back pain.

This study is funded by NHMRC. We anticipate completion by December 2023.