Price of Addiction: How a Hillsboro doctor’s back pain program could reduce painkiller use

Portland Business Journal, Dec. 15, 2014

lumbar-spinal-stenosis-treatmentAfter Dr. Bruce Farmer herniated a disc in his back about 10 years ago, he underwent two back surgeries but found no relief from his pain.

So he developed his own exercise therapy program and it worked. He has devoted his career since then to developing solutions for back pain relief that involve movement, rather than painkillers.

Farmer’s Back in Action Pain Control Program caught the attention of Oregon Health & Science University’s Department of Rehabilitation Services, which is partnering with him on a study to gauge how effective it is.

The Back in Action program entails six weeks of home-based therapeutic exercises and weekly group therapy sessions. The therapy includes pressure that is self-applied with a tennis ball or roller and strength and resistance training.

“The movements are very gentle,” said Farmer, a certified personal trainer and certified corrective exercise specialist.

Farmer said patients at Mid Valley Pain Clinic in Salem showed a huge improvement.

The OHSU study will determine whether home-based Back in Action is a more cost-effective intervention for chronic low back pain than traditional one-on-one physical therapy. Researchers plan to compare three treatment groups in which participants are randomized.

Requirements for entry into the study include patients with back pain lasting longer than six months, the absence of motor loss and MRI proven severe spinal stenosis.

Participants are given a kit that includes a DVD that demonstrates 18 movements, a foam roller and yoga block and strap. Various pain and disability indexes will be used to determine the outcomes.

For more information, visit Fitness Therapeutics’ website.


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