Researchers and clinicians from the Institute for Musculoskeletal Health, University of Sydney and Sydney Local Health District conducted a randomised trial across four NSW emergency departments including Royal Prince Alfred, Canterbury, Concord and Dubbo hospitals.
The study involved training 269 ED clinicians on best practice guidelines in assessing and managing patients with acute back pain which included providing alternatives to opioids such as Heat Wraps and cheaper anti-inflammatory medicines.
Of the 4625 episodes of care (4491 patients), researchers found a reduction in opioid use without adverse patient outcomes and improved clinicians beliefs and knowledge about low back pain care.
FlexEze supplied the Heat wraps used in this Australian hospital trial. The obvious benefit of Heat wraps over other heat therapy products is that they provide continuous low level heat whilst enabling movement in patients to promote recovery from acute back pain. The adverse effects of opioids has created a dependency issue with overuse and now are not recommended as a first line treatment for back pain in many treatment guidelines.
FlexEze Heat Wraps generate heat as a result of a simple non-toxic chemical reaction that is air-activated. FlexEze Heat wraps deliver a sustained temperature above 40 degrees for approximately 8-12 hours, which is around 20 times longer than wheat bags or hot water bottles.
FlexEze Heat wraps are lightweight, comfortable and provide portability with minimal disruption to daily routine. FlexEze are also eco-friendly as ingredients are biodegradable and can be dispose into the garden as a soil improver.
This new research demonstrates the use of Heat wraps, movement, education, reassurance and simple analgesia can significantly reduce the prescription of opioid medications in back pain patients presenting to emergency departments at Australian hospitals.
For more information and to read the entire research paper please visit https://qualitysafety.bmj.com/content/early/2021/03/08/bmjqs-2020-012337
Coombs DM, Machado GC, Richards B, et alEffectiveness of a multifaceted intervention to improve emergency department care of low back pain: a stepped-wedge, cluster-randomised trialBMJ Quality & Safety Published Online First: 10 March 2021. doi:10.1136/bmjqs-2020-012337
Heat Wraps are now recommended in treatment guidelines for Back Pain
Latest treatment guidelines around the world now recommend non-pharmacological approaches for low back pain. Evidence demonstrating the lack of efficacy for use of paracetamol and opioids in the treatment of acute and chronic low back pain has shifted the focus toward physical therapies, such as spinal manipulation, massage and heat wrap therapy as first line defences in low back pain treatment.
The World Health Organisation recently published an article on policy and practices for low back pain. Guideline recommendations from around the world focused upon non-pharmacological evidence based interventions which included Heat wrap therapy as a recommendation in step 2.