The National University of Health Sciences (NUHS), Lombard, Illinois, a health science education institute, announced that it has received a $406,000 grant from Foot Levelers, Roanoke, Virginia, to conduct a three-year study on the use of shoe orthotics for the treatment of chronic lower-back pain.
The university will begin enrolling 225 volunteer subjects who have chronic lower-back pain in a randomized controlled clinical trial in March 2014. The subjects will be randomly split into three groups: an orthotic treatment group, a chiropractic plus orthotic treatment group, and a wait-list control group. The study will track changes in the volunteers’ perceived pain levels and functional health status after six weeks and 12 weeks of care. The study will also assess long-term benefits of care by collecting the same measures at three, six, and 12 months following care.
The new grant follows a previous one-year pilot study that found a correlation between use of shoe orthotics and relief of lower-back pain. The previous NUHS study, also funded by Foot Levelers through a $50,000 grant, enrolled 50 subjects. The results were significant but not considered conclusive with such a small number of study participants, according to an NUHS press release.
“While there is certainly anecdotal evidence that the use of orthotics can reduce back pain, we are excited to do a broader study to document whether there is statistically relevant evidence to support the use of orthotics in patients with chronic lower-back pain,” said Manuel Duarte, DC, DABCO, DACBSP, chair of clinical practice at NUHS, and an investigator on the project.