Pain and Neuroinflammation Imaging Lab

The Back Pain Consortium (BACPAC) Research Program: Structure, Research Priorities, and Methods

Mauck MC, Lotz J, Psioda MA, Carey TS, Clauw DJ, Majumdar S, Marras WS, Vo N, Aylward A, Hoffmeyer A, Zheng P, Ivanova A, McCumber M, Carson C, Anstrom KJ, Bowden AE, Dalton D, Derr L, Dufour J, Fields AJ, Fritz J, Hassett AL, Harte SE, Hue TF, Krug R, Loggia ML, Mageswaran P, McLean SA, Mitchell UH, O’Neill C, Pedoia V, Quirk DA, Rhon DI, Rieke V, Shah L, Sowa G, Spiegel B, Wasan AD, Wey HM, LaVange L. 


In 2019, the National Health Interview survey found that nearly 59% of adults reported pain some, most, or every day in the past 3 months, with 39% reporting back pain, making back pain the most prevalent source of pain, and a significant issue among adults. Often, identifying a direct, treatable cause for back pain is challenging, especially as it is often attributed to complex, multifaceted issues involving biological, psychological, and social components. Due to the difficulty in treating the true cause of chronic low back pain (cLBP), an over-reliance on opioid pain medications among cLBP patients has developed, which is associated with increased prevalence of opioid use disorder and increased risk of death. To combat the rise of opioid-related deaths, the National Institutes of Health (NIH) initiated the Helping to End Addiction Long-TermSM (HEAL) initiative, whose goal is to address the causes and treatment of opioid use disorder while also seeking to better understand, diagnose, and treat chronic pain. The NIH Back Pain Consortium (BACPAC) Research Program, a network of 14 funded entities, was launched as a part of the HEAL initiative to help address limitations surrounding the diagnosis and treatment of cLBP. This paper provides an overview of the BACPAC research program’s goals and overall structure, and describes the harmonization efforts across the consortium, define its research agenda, and develop a collaborative project which utilizes the strengths of the network. The purpose of this paper is to serve as a blueprint for other consortia tasked with the advancement of pain related science.