A conference taking place in Adelaide focused on the pros and cons of different approaches to back care, an issue that affects more than 3 million Australians each year.
Medical researchers from Europe, North America and Australasia attended the 1st Adelaide Spinal Research Symposium, held at the National Wine Centre on December 6.
Spinal surgeons rubbed shoulders with chiropractors at the conference, which brings together global experts to discuss the latest trends in multidisciplinary care of the spine.
The pros and cons of conservative and surgical care including disc replacement surgery, diagnostic imaging and intervention for low back pain were also be reviewed. The symposium will be followed by a week of intensive research into spine care, conducted at the Adelaide Centre for Spinal Research.
A spine scientist, Dr Colloca is a chiropractor and member of the International Society for the Study of the Lumbar Spine (ISSLS), an organisation composed mainly of orthopedic spine surgeons. The former president of the ISSLS, Dr Robert Fraser, an orthopaedic surgeon from Royal Adelaide Hospital, addressed the symposium.
The US-based Dr Colloca, who at the invitation of his Adelaide hosts has given talks at RAH about chiropractic research, said that the award-winning Adelaide Centre for Spine Research on North Terrace is globally recognised as a centre for excellence.
“The centre is closely affiliated with the ISSLS, which serves as an international forum for the exchange of information of both an investigative and clinical nature which relates to low back pain and disability.
“I have found that doctors are encouraged that chiropractors are demonstrating a scientific approach. Like any scientist, they don’t want to be just told something works, they want evidence. However, a lack of evidence is not a lack of effectiveness. There is a large body of evidence in support of the treatment of musculoskeletal conditions.”
Dr Zoe Love, President of the Chiropractors Association of South Australia, agreed with Dr Colloca’s view that scientific research provides the proof of the efficacy of manipulations.
“As chiropractors, we closely follow developments in spinal research. We are pleased that this significant conference is taking place in Adelaide, bringing together the thought leaders in spinal care from around the world.”
Dr Colloca has visited Adelaide to conduct research at the ACSR every year for the past five years.
“One of our approaches is to use a disc degeneration model to research the impact of different interventions,” he explained. “We use this model to measure how the spine moves when the discs are normal and when there are abnormalities, how the muscles work and how the joints communicate with muscles through the nerves.”
Other research on the agenda included:
• When will a patient benefit from conservative, biomechanical care rather than surgery?
• How can chiropractors and medical clinicians do a better job of referring between disciplines, according to what is best for the patient?
• Can a series of medical guidelines be developed to assist these referrals in cases of back pain, headaches and neck pain?