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Marquam Hill Lecture on back pain lecture attracts hundreds to campus

Richard Deyo, MD, MPH, Professor, Department of Family Medicine, discussed a wide range of treatments for low back pain at the second Marquam Hill Lecture of the 2009-2010 series, held January 21.The lecture was one of the best attended in the series 27-year history with over 250 attendees. The audience included students from a number of regional high schools, members of the public, OHSU faculty and staff. Marquam Hill Lectures present, in lay terms, the leading basic science and clinical research being conducted at OHSU, and are sponsored by the School of Medicine, the OHSU Foundation, the Oregon Clinical Translational Research Institute and the Marquam Hill Steering Committee. Series sponsors for 2009-2010 include Thompson Rubinstein Investment Management Inc. and Springbrook Hazelnut Farm, Newburg.

Dr. Deyo discussed his findings related to back pain, recommending that patients avoid imaging in the first month unless the physician sees clear red flags for diseases such as a history of cancer, unexplained weight loss, or fever. His research, and related studies, show that bed rest, traction and facet joint injections are largely ineffective, and that non-surgical therapies such as self care, lifestyle changes, pain relievers and an early return to activity are frequently as effective as more invasive therapies in reducing and eliminating the pain.  

With colleagues, he has pioneered an interactive video program in which patients spend up to an hour watching interviews of prior patients who had similar symptoms.The video patients discuss their treatments and describe the results of their decisions – both good and bad. "Back pain has a generally good prognosis," he said. "Most patients improve on their own, and treatment should be aimed at reducing your symptoms while natural healing occurs."

The next Marquam Hill Lecture is March 15 at the Newmark Theater in the Portland Center for the Performing Arts. Joel Nigg, PhD, Professor, Department of Psychiatry, will speak about Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder. Further information is available here. Tickets, available at no charge, are required to attend this lecture. Please contact the Portland Center for the Performing Arts at (503) 432-2917.


This article was first published in the January edition of the SoM newsletter

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