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Dr Sinéad Forde

Congratulations to Dr. Sinéad Forde who won the Faculty of Pain Medicine’s Annual Research Medal 2021 presented at the College of Anaesthesiology Annual Congress in Dublin.

Dr. Forde who was supervised by Dr. Dominic Hegarty (Clinical Director of Pain Relief Ireland) studied the relationship between Body Mass Index (BMI), chronic low back pain and several psychological profiles. This work provides a better understanding into how careful assessment could streamline the management of individuals with chronic low back pain.
The key focus of the project was based on the fact that pain catastrophizing, kinesiophobia and self-efficacy have all been implicated in the development and maintenance of chronic low back pain (cLBP). We examined the relationship between these psychological profiles and Body Mass Index (BMI) in those with cLBP.

The results showed that in those adults with cLBP (mean age 53, n=50, 34 Female : 16 Male) pain catastrophizing and kinesiophobia were correlated with pain intensity (r = .61, p<0.01; r =.59, p<0.01) and disability (r = .55, p<0.01; r= .66, p<0.01) respectively.

Total self-efficacy also correlated significantly with pain intensity (r= -.43, p<0.01) and disability (r= -.36, p<0.05). A strong correlation existed between self-efficacy for function and disability (r= -.69, p<0.01) but not for pain symptoms and pain intensity.

BMI did not correlate significantly with any of the psychological factors or outcomes. ANOVA Analysis revealed a statistically significant difference between the BMI groups and self-efficacy for pain symptoms (F(2,44) = 4.53, p<0.01) with a small effect size (0.17).

Dr. Forde's research highlighted that a strong relationship with self-perceived disability outcomes and self-efficacy for function may be clinically relevant psychological markers when treating cLBP. While a relationship between these variables and BMI groups need to be explored the novel work paves the way for further research to investigate whether there is a meaningful variance in the psychological profiles of cLBP patients of different BMI groups.
Dr. Hegarty believes that this work is a simple first step into understanding this complex relationship.

“The strength of Dr. Forde's work lies in the attention to detail and ensuring that validated and clinically relevant data was available for analysis."

Sinéad started this work as a final year student and over the last year graduated, worked as a frontline doctor through the most difficult time in the history of our health service, won the Gaffney prize 2019/2020 for this work, presented at the World Institute of Pain Virtual World congress (WIP Rome 2020) and capped it off by winning the Pain Faculty Medal 2021! What a fantastic achievement when you consider the medal is usually won by a Pain Fellow undertaking specialist training in the area of pain. We congratulate Dr. Hegarty for his role in guiding Sinéad and we wish Dr. Forde the very best in her career ahead which we know will bring many more accolades.