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Frequently Asked Questions

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What is low back pain?

The low back is one of the most common sources of pain in humans. For most people, pain lasts a few days or weeks, but some people develop chronic pain, meaning pain which lasts more than 3 months. Many structures may be involved in the generation of pain: muscles, joints, nerves and discs. Despite the existence of many treatment options – physical therapy, medications, injections and more – many patients continue to suffer from pain.


What is the microbiome?

Our gut is home to myriads of microorganisms - bacteria, viruses and fungi. These tiny creatures, which are found mainly on our skin and in our digestive system,  are mostly harmless to us, and even important for our health. Microbiome is the term given to the genes of the microorganisms found in and on us. Much research has been done on these silent inhabitants in recent years, and it seems that the composition of the gut bacterial community changes significantly in different medical conditions. Altered microbiome composition has been found in bowel diseases, diabetes, obesity, cardiovascular diseases, some types of cancer and even anxiety and autism.


Who can participate in the study?
  • Women and men over 18 years old, with low back pain lasting more than 6 months and their healthy adult household members;

  • Participants of the Quebec Low Back Pain Study.

  • Who do not have any chronic gastrointestinal disease (including inflammatory bowel diseases, diverticulosis, celiac disease, irritable bowel syndrome);

  • Who do not suffer from any other chronic pain conditions; 

  • Who do not have an active malignancy;

  • Who are not pregnant;

  • Who did not receive any treatment with antibiotics in the last month.

If you're not a participant of the Quebec Low Back Pain study, and want to participate this study, all you have to do is join the Quebec Low Back Pain Study, and consent to be contacted for other studies.



If I participate in the study, what will I have to do?

You will be asked to give a stool sample and a saliva sample using kits that will be mailed to you, to send it by mail and to fill in an on-line questionnaire. 

You will not be asked to come for a study visit - all you have to do can be done from home.


How will I benefit from my participation in the study?

You will be paid $50 for sending in the stool and saliva samples and filling in a questionnaire.    


Is there any risk in participating in this study?

No serious risks are expected from your participation in this study. 

A possible risk is loss of confidentiality if your data or information are inadvertently disclosed outside of the study. To limit this risk, we will take the steps to protect your confidentiality described in the section on confidentiality below.


Can I join the study if I don't have a healthy household member who wants to participate?

In this study we are comparing the microbiome of individuals with and without chronic back pain. For that reason we only recruit pairs or individuals with low back pain and healthy individuals who live in the same house with them.

Unfortunately, we will not be able to include in the study patients alone or healthy individuals alone.


How do I collect the stool sample?

It's easy. Just follow the instructions in this document or watch the video.


I want to join the study, what do I have to do?

Read the consent form, and click here to leave us your name and contact information.


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by mail:

by phone: 514-934-8558

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