Nearly 80 percent of the population have had, or will experience lower back pain, making it the most commonly suffered pain condition and the third most long term condition.

Researchers, Dr Paulo Ferreira and Marina de Barros Pinheira, from the University of Sydney are undertaking a study with the Australian Twin Registry to better understand the types of physical activities that cause and protect low back pain as well as whether treatments aimed at increasing sleep quality are able to help people with back pain.

Dr Ferreira reports that low back pain is the most disabling condition worldwide in terms of number of years lived with disability and “it significantly affects people’s lives and adds a lot of suffering and burden”. Moreover it costs $4 billion annually in direct and indirect costs. With an increasing number of people leading more sedentary lifestyles in demanding and stressful occupations, and a growing lack of opportunities for social interaction and support, the incidence of low back pain looks set to soar.

His new research project requires twins aged 18 plus who have internet access, an active email account and an internet enabled smartphone. His team is interested in studying twins who have and who have not suffered back pain in order to identify what factors are involved in this condition. 

Dr Ferreira argues that twins are ideally suited for such a project “because they allow us to investigate the contribution of familial factors in the development of back pain and the response of people to treatment approaches”. 

A recent news segment featuring Dr Ferreira, discussing the importance of twin research, including the Australian Back Pain Study, can be viewed on our YouTube channel.

To learn more about this and other currently recruiting studies, please visit our website.

Twins Research Australia

Address: 3/207 Bouverie St
Carlton, Vic 3010


ABN: 84 002 705 224

Twins Research Australia has received continuous funding from the National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC) since 1981, most recently through a Centre of Research Excellence Grant (2015-2022). TRA is administered by the University of Melbourne.

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