Baduanjin exercise for chronic non-specific low back pain: protocol for a series of N-of-1 trials

Author: Jingbo Zhai1, Ai Feng Liu2, Weijie Yu2, Tianci Guo2
Affiliation: <sup>1</sup> School of Public Health, Tianjin University of Traditional Chinese Medicine, Tianjin, China <sup>2</sup> Department of Orthopaedic Surgery, First Teaching Hospital of Tianjin University of Traditional Chinese Medicine, Tianjin, China.
Conference/Journal: BMJ Open
Date published: 2023 Nov 14
Other: Volume ID: 13 , Issue ID: 11 , Pages: e070703 , Special Notes: doi: 10.1136/bmjopen-2022-070703. , Word Count: 297

Chronic non-specific low back pain (CNLBP) is one of the most common health problems worldwide. According to the clinical guideline released by the American College of Physicians, exercise has been recommended for the treatment of chronic LBP. In recent years, traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) is becoming increasingly popular for the management of chronic LBP. Baduanjin exercise is one of the exercise therapies in TCM. N-of-1 trial is a randomised cross-over self-controlled trial suitable for patients with this chronic disease. A series of similar N-of-1 trials can be pooled to estimate the overall and individual therapeutic effects synchronously by hierarchical Bayesian analysis. And N-of-1 trials are considered as a good tool for evaluating the therapeutic effect of TCM. Therefore, this study aims to conduct a series of N-of-1 trials with hierarchical Bayesian analysis for assessing whether Baduanjin exercise is effective and safe for CNLBP.

Methods and analysis:
This study conducts a series of N-of-1 trials on Baduanjin exercise for the management of CNLBP. Fifty participants will receive 1-3 treatment cycles. They will be randomised into a Baduanjin exercise or waiting list group for a week during the two periods of each treatment cycle. The primary outcome is the 10-point Visual Analogue Scale. The secondary outcomes include the Oswestry Disability Index, the Japanese Orthopaedic Association Back Pain Evaluation Questionnaire and the Short Form Health Survey 12. Statistical analysis will be conducted with WinBUGS V.1.4.3 software. Overall and individual therapeutic effects will be estimated synchronously by hierarchical Bayesian analysis.

Ethics and dissemination:
This study is approved by the Medical Ethics Committee of Tianjin University of TCM (reference number TJUTCM-EC20220005). Our findings will be published in a peer-reviewed journal or international conference.

Trial registration number:

Keywords: back pain; clinical trials; complementary medicine; pain management.

PMID: 37963698 PMCID: PMC10649392 DOI: 10.1136/bmjopen-2022-070703