SUPPORT Study for Back & Leg Pain

Support Study

Are you struggling with back and leg pain (also called sciatica)?  

Back and leg pain can be hard to manage, especially if it has lasted a long time, or interferes with daily activities. The good news is that there are ways to manage back and leg pain without injections or surgery. 

The goal of this study is to look at two treatment options to reduce peoples’ pain and help them function better, on a daily basis. Past research has shown these treatments can be helpful for people with back and leg pain, but they have never been compared to one another. We also need to learn more about how patients feel about these treatments, including whether or not they find them worthwhile, and what barriers they may face when trying to use them.

Did you know…?

4 out of 5 people experience back pain. It is the the most common and disabling condition in the world. 3 out of 5 people with back pain also have leg pain. These people are more severely affected than people with just back pain.

Who can participate? 

People who are at least 18 years of age, with back and leg pain, may be eligible to take part. 


We are happy to answer your questions. Please contact or call 612-626-6477.

What can I expect to do? 

  • Complete an online screening survey 
  • Attend two screening visits to see if the study is a good fit for you 
  • Be randomly assigned (like flipping a coin) to 3 months of either Supported Self Management or Medical Care 
    • Supported Self-Management: a physical therapist or chiropractor will teach you techniques and exercises to help you manage your back and leg pain on your own. You will also receive spinal manipulation, a hands-on treatment. 
    • Medical Care: a medical clinician will prescribe medications and advice. No surgical procedures or injections will be offered. 
  • Fill out surveys for 6 months. 

Is there a cost? 

There is no cost for you to participate. You will be compensated up to $150 for completing surveys over the 6 month study period.  

Who is leading the study? 

Drs. Brent Leininger and Gert Bronfort are leading the study with the team at the Integrative Health & Wellbeing Research Program at the University of Minnesota. The study is funded by the National Institutes of Health (1R34AT011209).

Why take part in a research study? 

To learn more about why research is important and what it is like to take part in studies like this one, see "NIH Clinical Research and You."