6 February 2019

Introducing the BACE:C-A Study

The latest research grant awarded by the ACA examining elderly Australians with back pain will soon be asking chiropractors to join an observational study.

Led by Dr Katie de Luca, a Post Doctoral Research Fellow in the Department of Chiropractic at Macquarie University, the BACE: Chiropractic – Australia (BACE:C-A) study is a prospective, longitudinal study on back pain in the elderly, which will follow Australians over the age of 55 for 12 months, who see a chiropractor for a new episode of back pain.

The study will aim to understand the types of healthcare older people use and the impact back pain has on disability. The BACE:C-A study is purely observational, with no intervention required from chiropractors other than to recruit patients for this practice-based research network project.

BACE:C-A evolved from the original BACE (BAck Complaints in the Elderly) study, an international consortium through Brazil and Norway studying back pain in primary care. A European chiropractic research group, led by Drs’ Sidney Rubensin, Jan Hartvigsen and Iben Axen sought to perform a study similar to BACE, however within a chiropractic cohort. Dr de Luca and her team now have the opportunity to join with this group, gaining vital experience from world leaders in chiropractic cohort studies.

According to the ACORN study, 74% of chiropractors regularly see older people and 12% of chiropractic patients are older Australians. Therefore, in terms of improving patient-centred care, this study will focus on establishing evidence on whether chiropractic is safe for older Australians and in understanding the risk factors of disability in this population.

“I believe we will show that chiropractic is safe for this population, as we will collect data on adverse events. This type of research is observational in nature, and importantly it will provide us with information that can generate hypotheses for testing in future clinical trials,” Dr de Luca said.

Dr de Luca believes this study will support clinicians by providing information on the use and safety of chiropractic for older people and is hopeful that this study will inform government and leverage policy.

“It’s really about placing chiropractors as important stakeholders as primary care providers of spinal healthcare to older Australians. We need to build research capacity and ultimately become an evidence-based choice. This is, that an older person can see a chiropractor for their back pain and people outside the profession including healthcare providers and government support that decision.”

Not only will this study have an impact in the Australian healthcare landscape, but on an international scale as well. By joining the international BACE consortium, BACE:C-A researchers will be able to compare data in different healthcare systems across the world and join a highly productive, successful and supportive group of international chiropractic researchers.

With hopes of performing clinical trials in the future, the next stages of the BACE:C-A study is to recruit chiropractors and maximise practitioner engagement and Dr de Luca is looking forward to undertaking this study on behalf of the ACA and the chiropractic profession.

“We are so grateful for the ACA for being the funder of BACE:C-A because we could have never done this study without their support and chiropractors need to appreciate the Association for providing funding for this research.”

If you are interested in more information, please email Dr de Luca at [email protected]