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Patients with musculoskeletal pain in rural Australia

The Discipline of Physiotherapy at the University of Sydney is looking for adults who live outside metropolitan areas (rural Australia) and have low back pain and/or knee osteoarthritis to take part in a study.

You only need to have internet access and an electronic device with a camera like a smartphone, tablet or PC. Your participation will be from home. 

After completing the online baseline questionnaire, the participants will be randomly placed into one of two groups (1) the eHealth group or (2) the usual care group.

The eHealth group:
Includes free online physiotherapy treatment (eHealth) during 3 months consisting of individually tailored home exercise program and physical activity plan with 6 remote physiotherapy video consultations and a web application

The usual care group:
You will continue to access local care where you would normally go and/or be provided with assistance over the telephone to help you access a healthcare professional (e.g. public hospitals) you decide to visit.

Ethics approval number: X18-0226


You may be eligible to participate in this study if you:

Have had a non-specific LBP and/or knee pain lasting for at least 3 months. Participants who report both conditions will be stratified based on their primary complaint by reporting which condition concerns them the most.

  1. Pain level:
    a) LBP: ≥3/10 on the 11-point numeric pain rating scale in the past week
    b) Knee: ≥3/10 on the 11-point numeric pain rating scale over most days of the past month
  2. Age range:
    A) LBP: ≥ 18 years old
    b) Knee OA: ≥45 years old
  3. Be in the process of seeking care through Dubbo or Orange Health Service outpatient physiotherapy department or are intending to access care (which incur costs to patients or healthcare system) in the next 3 months for their back and/or knee pain
  4. Reside in very remote, remote, inner and outer regional areas (based on the Australian Standard Geographical Classification Remoteness Area)
  5. Be fluent in English (verbal and written)
  6. Have adequate hearing and eyesight
  7. Independent ambulatory status
  8. Have current internet access and access to it at least once a month
  9. Own an internet-capable device with a display, camera, microphone and speaker (smartphone, tablet or computer).
  10. Have a self-rated ability to use the internet at-least fair (using a 4-item scale from poor, fair, good to excellent)
  11. Willingness to provide informed consent and willingness to participate and comply with the study requirements.

How to participate

If you are interested in assisting with this important and exciting area of research, please contact the study facilitator:


Phone: (02) 93519010 

Mobile: 0420730783