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Portrait of Julie Fritz, PhD

What Makes the BEST Trial Unique?

Watch this video with Julie Fritz, PhD, physical therapist, researcher with the BEST Trial, to hear about the scope of the trial, data, and outcomes that make the BEST Trial unique.

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Text Transcript: 

Text on screen of video at start: BEST Trial logo, followed by text “What Makes the BEST Trial Unique? With Julie Fritz, PhD, Physical Therapist, The University of Utah” 

My name is Julie Fritz. I am a physical therapist and I'm a professor at the University of Utah. And I've been able to work with my colleagues on developing the Evidence Based Exercise and Manual Therapy (EBEM) intervention as part of the BEST Trial.

Among the nonpharmacologic treatments for back pain that are evidence based are exercise and also manual therapy or hands on intervention. I'm a physical therapist by background, primarily now mostly a researcher, but I, in my research as well as in my previous background as a practitioner, I have a lot of experience working with people who have either acute or chronic back pain. Chronic pain, chronic back pain included can for some individuals really significantly impact quality of life. 

It can affect sleep, it affects a person's ability to work. It can severely affect a person's interpersonal relationships, their social roles, how they interact with family members and friends. So it can have a really substantial and - and quite comprehensive impact on people's lives. 

I think there's several things that make BEST unique as a trial. One is just the scope of it. The number of participants, the number of sites, the number of investigators from multiple disciplines that are working on the trial, you know, create an opportunity to ask questions and gather information with a scope that is not typically done in clinical trials for back pain. So that's - that's really exciting. I think the collective expertise of the investigators also create an opportunity to look at the problem from multiple dimensions, to gather really rich data on our participants, and then to use the latest analytic techniques to try to understand better which patients respond to which type of treatments.

So these are interventions that are typically delivered by physical therapists, sometimes chiropractors. And we wanted to make sure that we represented these treatments in the BEST Trial because they're common and they have evidence of benefiting at least some people with back pain. 

Not just looking at the intensity and level of pain, although that's very important to us as researchers, as well as participants, but looking at outcomes like sleep quality and duration, like mood, like social participation, these outcomes also, we know, are very important to patients and they're often the reasons why they seek treatment. 

I think in developing the BEST Trial, we've all been very intentional about how comprehensive we are at the assessments that we're doing so that we can understand the factors that contribute to people's back pain experience as well as the outcomes that we know are meaningful to participants.

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The content is solely the responsibility of the authors and dose not necessarily represent the official views of the National Institutes of Health. 

Music credit: Hand in Hand – Nicolai Heidlas