the 4.3 million inhabitants of Victoria, Australia, back pain
is the condition responsible for one-quarter of all workers'
compensation claims and half the costs of all compensation
claims. Due to convincing evidence that psychological factors
may be associated with back pain more than any other factors,
the Victorian WorkCover Authority started a broad-based public
health campaign in 1997 to alter widespread misconceptions
about back pain and reduce disability costs in the state.
The campaign encouraged patients with low back pain to stay
active, exercise, remain at work, and avoid prolonged rest.
The study, published in the journal Spine, was conducted
in Victoria, using the neighboring state of New South Wales
as a control. Telephone surveys were carried out in both states
before, two years into, and two-and-a-half years into the
mass-media campaign, which involved prime-time television
commercials and radio and billboard advertisements. Questionnaires
on back-pain knowledge, such as how to avoid it, were used
to determine the success of the campaign. General practitioners'
beliefs and attitudes toward back pain were also recorded
in a similar fashion.
The questionnaires were completed by almost 5,000 respondents
in the general population and approximately 2,500 general
practitioners. In Victoria, where the campaign was conducted,
accurate knowledge about back pain increased significantly
on the back-pain knowledge questionnaires. The population
of New South Wales, which had no media campaign, showed no
improvement in the questionnaire scores. In addition, general
practitioners showed an increase in treatment knowledge in
This study shows that a broad-based media campaign may successfully
improve society's knowledge about back pain. Back pain can
be highly debilitating, yet is often avoidable through proper
lifting techniques, strength training, good flexibility, etc.
Ask your doctor of chiropractic about methods for avoiding
low back pain.
Buchbinder R, Jolley D, Wyatt M. 2001 Volvo Award winner
in clinical studies: Effects of a media campaign on back pain
beliefs and its potential influence on management of low back
pain in general practice. Spine 2001:26(23), pp. 2535-2542.
For more information on back pain, go to http://www.chiroweb.com/find/tellmeabout/backpain.html