Computer Simulation Study Helps Assess Interventions to Reduce the Burden of Low Back Pain

October 4, 2022 (Vancouver) — Low back pain (LBP) is the leading cause of disability worldwide. A study conducted by Arthritis Research Canada sought to examine the impact of three strategies intended to reduce the burden of lower back pain (LBP) along with a secondary goal of determining the usefulness of a new microsimulation modeling software, SimYouLate. The software is easy to use, doesn’t require a programming background and is particularly suitable for population health modeling.

SimYouLate was used to calculate the difference in predicted number of years lived with disability when interventions were not applied and the predicted number of years lived with disability with each intervention applied to determine the impact of the different intervention strategies.

The three intervention strategies included weight loss, ergonomic interventions, and an exercise program. While all three strategies provided benefit, the study found that a one unit reduction in body mass index per year among people who are overweight or obese is equivalent to an effective workplace intervention in 35% of workers, and an exercise program in 27% of patients with back problems.

“The study confirms the importance of exercise, workplace interventions, and maintaining a healthy body weight to reduce the burden of lower back pain,” said Arthritis Research Canada Senior Scientist, Dr. Jacek Kopec. “We also have demonstrated the usefulness of new software for microsimulation modeling. We are optimistic that this technology can spur on more studies to help us evaluate other healthcare interventions and policies.”

To learn more about this research, please click here. 


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Arthritis Research Canada is the largest clinical arthritis research institution in North America. Our mission is to transform the lives of people living with arthritis through research and engagement. Arthritis Research Canada’s scientific director, Dr. Diane Lacaille is leading a team of over 100 researchers, trainees and staff whose world recognized research is creating a future where people living with arthritis are empowered to triumph over pain and disability. Arthritis Research Canada is conducting research across Canada in British Columbia, Alberta and Quebec and is affiliated with five major universities: University of British Columbia, Simon Fraser University, University of Calgary, Université Laval, and McGill University. Arthritis Research Canada is leading research aimed at arthritis prevention, early diagnosis, new and better treatment, and improved quality of life.

For more information or to arrange an interview, please contact:

Heather Caulder
Marketing and Communications Officer
604-207-4010 or hcaulder@arthritisresearch.ca

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