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PainJan 25, 2021

Pain physio Paul Cameron helps lead global bid to improve treatment and management options

Fife-based physiotherapist Paul Cameron is a prominent figure in an initiative titled the Global Year About Back Pain (GYABP) 2021. He is one of two co-chairs for the campaign's task force, which involves contributions from the European Pain Federation (EFIC) and the International Association for the Study of Pain (IASP).

In an interview appearing on the IASP's website, Professor Cameron says he has witnessed back pain prevention and management strategies ‘go in and out of fashion over the years’. 

Can you take up the challenge to find solutions to the widespread problem of back pain?

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‘However, I have also seen a positive change in the focus of management strategies being centred around those living with pain and their opinions at the centre of designed strategies. 

Our collaborative approach aims to access and assist the wider community of pain professionals and those living with pain, so we can continue to improve on the treatment and management of back pain on a global scale [Paul Cameron]

‘This approach has offered clinicians and researchers a unique and richer perspective than that offered by professionals alone.

‘Our collaborative approach aims to access and assist the wider community of pain professionals and those living with pain, so we can continue to improve on the treatment and management of back pain on a global scale.’

Outlining his hopes for GYABP 2021, Professor Cameron said it would:  

  •      highlight the evidence for and against the existing management approaches on back pain
  •      offer further information for identifying research gaps
  •      bring together professionals and those living with pain

Professor Cameron heads a multidisciplinary pain service at NHS Fife that supports people in community and secondary care settings. He is also a specialty adviser to the chief medical officer in Scotland and was formerly national lead clinician and national coordinator for chronic pain at the Scottish Government.

Dr Williamson is, among other activities, an adjunct professor at the School of Interactive Art and Technology, Simon Fraser University, British Columbia, Canada. He also chairs an IASP special interest group on ethical and legal issues. 

Background to the initiative

  • back pain is a common global problem affecting more than 577 million people worldwide
  • it has been the leading cause of years ‘lived with disability’ since 1990 and is a significant global public health concern
  • while people of working aged are particularly affected, children, adolescents and older people are also at risk
  • the task force will guide and support clinicians, scientists and the public in understanding the global challenges of preventing and treating back pain
  • as part of the GYABP initiative, a number factsheets summarising a number of key topics – such as the global burden of low back pain, the anatomy, biomechanics and pathophysiology of back pain, the assessment of back pain, and the treatment of back pain – are available via the website

In a joint statement, Professor Cameron and Dr Williamson added: ‘Although we will not be meeting in person at the 2021 World Congress on Pain, we look forward to contributing virtually to the scientific content of the congress.

‘We know back pain is a global problem. We invite you to work with us, the GYABP Task Force, EFIC and IASP to find solutions. Are you up for the challenge?'

Claudia Sommer, IASP president, said: ‘If you have ideas for activities or resources to support these efforts or are already doing these in your country, please let us know by emailing globalyear@iasp-pain.org so that we can incorporate your ideas into our campaign and promote your activities throughout the IASP community and the world.

‘Together, we can provide the latest research, clinical practices, and self-management techniques to work toward a world with less pain. For more information on the IASP Global Year, please visit our website https://www.iasp-pain.org/GlobalYear

Task force members: Kobi Degraft-Johnson (Ghana), Dawn Ernstzen, (South Africa), Thomas Graven-Nielsen, (Denmark), Monika Hasenbring, (Germany), Keith Meldrum (Canada), Jo Nijs (Netherlands), Gabrielle Pagé (Canada), Marcus Schiltenwolf (Germany), Petra Schweinhardt (Switzerland), William Shaw (United States), Takahiro Ushida (Japan), David Walsh (UK). 

Author: Ian A McMillan
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