(October 11th, 2019)
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Left to right: David Fullwood (Mechanical Engineering), Ulrike Mitchell (Exercise Sciences), Anton Bowden (Mechanical Engineering)

An estimated 50 million U.S. adults suffered from chronic pain in 2016; in 2018, an estimated 10.3 million people 12 years and older in the United States misused opioids, including heroin. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimate that the total "economic burden" of prescription opioid misuse in the United States (including the costs of healthcare, lost productivity, addiction treatment, and criminal justice involvement) is $78.5 billion per year.

To tackle the opioid crisis gripping the nation, the National Institutes of Health (NIH) has awarded $2.3 million to researchers at Brigham Young University who are working to improve the process to diagnose and treat lower back pain.

The BYU team overseeing the project includes Anton Bowden and David Fullwood, professors in the Mechanical Engineering department of the Ira A. Fulton College of Engineering, and Ulrike Mitchell, associate professor in the College of Life Sciences' Exercise Sciences department and fellow of the American Academy of Orthopaedic Manual Physical Therapists (AAOMPT).

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