Improving outcomes for people with low back pain and osteoarthritis

Wednesday, 22 Mar 2017

Louisa Chou

Can you describe the aim of your research in 10 words?

To improve patient outcomes in low back pain and osteoarthritis.

What do you know/have discovered about this topic so far?

Despite the burden of low back pain, the structural origin of most episodes of back pain is unknown, with poor correlation between symptoms and structural abnormalities. In order to address this problem, research has focused on identifying modifiable risk factors for back pain.

Osteoarthritis is a disease of the whole joint, with multiple dysfunctional pathways leading to disease.

What aspect of this research excites you the most?

The ability to better understand the pathophysiology that underlies common musculoskeletal diseases with the potential to modify the disease process.

 What’s your Holy Grail – the one thing you’d like to achieve in your research?

To provide effective management strategies to reduce pain in osteoarthritis and low back pain, and to slow down disease progression.

What has been/will be your biggest hurdle?

Participant recruitment for the randomised controlled trial examining therapeutic options for knee osteoarthritis that we are currently running.

How long before your work impacts patient care?

Our work examining modifiable risk factors for low back pain continues to add to the current literature. We aim to complete our current clinical trial examining therapeutic options for knee osteoarthritis within the next 2 to 3 years.

Who has inspired you and why?

Passionate and motivated clinicians and researchers throughout my clinical and research career, in particular, the endless enthusiasm of the members of the Musculoskeletal Unit at the School of Public Health and Preventive Medicine, Monash University.

If you could only keep three possessions, what would they be?

Photographs, my laptop and my lucky necklace

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