SelfBACK – A Decision Support System to Improve Self-management of Non-specific Low Back Pain


SelfBACK ( will see researchers and organisations from around Europe work to develop a decision support system for those suffering from low back pain as part of the €4.9m Horizon 2020 EU funded project. RGU’s input, which will involve researchers from across two faculties, will see Dr Nirmalie Wiratunga and Dr Stewart Massie from the School of Computing Science and Digital Media and  Dr Kay Cooper from the School of Health Sciences working with colleagues at Norwegian University NTNU and the SME Kiolis in the first three years of the project to develop the monitoring technology. This technology will recognise specific activities in real-time, establish user activity behaviour, compare actual and expected behaviour and generate intervention prompts on detection of behaviour deviations.

SelfBack is coordinated by the Norwegian University of Science and Technology (NTNU). The other organisations involved in the project include the University of Glasgow; French software company Kiolis; the National Research Centre for the Working Environment (NRCWE) in Denmark; Dutch company Health Leads; and the University of Southern Denmark. SelfBack also has an international team of prestigious scientist as part of its advisory board to provide advice on scientific, ethical and technological questions, user perspective, business planning and exploitation.

Non-specific lower back pain, which is cited as the most significant contributor to disability in Europe, is the fourth most common diagnosis seen in primary care. Self-management, which includes physical activity and strength and stretching exercises, constitutes the core component in the management of non-specific low back pain. Some patients find self-management of a condition such as low back pain quite challenging due to a lack of feedback and reinforcement about the decisions they are making. What the research partners are aiming to do in this project is develop a system which will provide them with the reassurance they need to manage their condition after consulting a health care professional.


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