Rodrigo Rizzo

RESEARCHER PROFILE

PhD Candidate


Rodrigo Rizzo is a Doctoral Candidate at Neuroscience Research Australia (NeuRA) and University of New South Wales (UNSW). He is a physiotherapist who has worked in the management of chronic pain for over 15 years. Rod became interested in understanding the effect of clinical hypnosis for chronic pain, and in 2018, he published the first randomised controlled trial combining clinical hypnosis with pain neuroscience education.

Supervised by Prof James McAuley and A/Prof Sylvia Gustin, Rod is using quantitative and qualitative methods to investigate mechanisms of interventions for treating back pain. Using qualitative research, he wants to understand people’s beliefs about treatments that target the brain for the management of back pain. Using quantitative analysis, he investigates whether and how interventions designed to change the nervous system work in patients with pain. Rod’s current projects include:

  • The reporting of mediation analysis in recently published observational studies: a systematic review
  • The mediating effect of pain catastrophizing on pain intensity: the influence of the timing of assessments
  • How do people with chronic low back pain perceive interventions that target the brain to reduce pain and disability?
  • Efficacy and safety of medicines targeting neurotrophic factors in the management of low back pain: a systematic review and meta-analysis.

Follow Rod’s research below and here: Google Scholar and ORCID.

Rod is a member of the Centre for Pain IMPACT (investigating mechanisms of pain to advance clinical translation), which is a collaboration of pain researchers at NeuRA, who have a focus on encompassing basic science through to clinical and translational research. Rod was also the lead organiser for this group from 2019-2020.

Projects Rodrigo Rizzo is currently involved with

CURRENT PROJECTS

RESOLVE Trial for Chronic Low Back Pain

For people with long term back pain that is not getting better. We are testing two pain treatment programs that target the brain, for people with chronic low back pain.

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RESOLVE Trial for Chronic Low Back Pain

Medicines for Back Pain

Medicines are the most common treatment for back pain. The aim of this program of research is to improve our understanding of the clinical effects of medicines.

Studies currently in progress:

  1. Scoping review of paracetamol, NSAIDs and opioid analgesics for chronic low back pain (led by Matthew K Bagg). The objective of this study is to identify and describe the characteristics of available clinical trials of commonly used analgesic medicines for chronic low back pain. This information will inform the design and conduct of other studies in the research program.
  2. Paracetamol, NSAIDs and opioid analgesics for chronic low back pain: a network meta-analysis (led by Matthew K Bagg). The objective of this study is to produce information about the clinical effects of available analgesic medicines for chronic low back pain. This information will be available in a Cochrane review to assist clinical prescription of medicines. The protocol is published and available here.
  3. Prescribing practices of medicines for adults with low back pain: a systematic review (led by Michael Wewege). The objective of this study is to determine how different medicines are prescribed to adults with low back pain and how this differs across countries. The protocol for this study is being developed.
  4. Analgesic medicines for adults with low back pain: a network meta-analysis (led by Michael Wewege). The objective of this study is to evaluate the comparative effectiveness of a range of analgesic medicines for adults across different classifications of low back pain. The protocol for this study has been submitted for publication.
  5. Muscle relaxant medicines for low back pain: a systematic review and meta-analysis (led by Aidan Cashin and Thiago Folly). The objective of this study is to determine the effectiveness and tolerability of muscle relaxant medicines for adults with low back pain. The protocol is available here.
  6. Novel biologic medicines for low back pain: a systematic review and meta-analysis (led by Rodrigo Rizzo). The objective of this study is to determine the effectiveness and tolerability of novel biologic medicines for adults with low back pain. The protocol is available here.

Completed studies:

  1. Evaluation of the impact of unpublished data from clinical trial registries on the effects of medicines for low back pain (led by Matthew Bagg). The objective of this study was to evaluate whether there is a difference between clinical trial data that are published and those that are not published. The findings are published in the Journal of Clinical Epidemiology.
  2. Antidepressant medicines for low back pain: a systematic review and meta-analysis (led by Michael Ferraro). The objective of this study was to determine the effectiveness and tolerability of antidepressant medicines for adults with low back pain. The findings have been submitted for publication. The protocol is available here.

Medicines for Back Pain – Publications:

  • Bagg MK, McLachlan AJ, Maher CG, Kamper SJ, Williams CM, Henschke N, Wand BM, Moseley GL, Hübscher M, O’Connell NE, van Tulder MW, Nikolakopoulou A, McAuley JH. (2018). Paracetamol, NSAIDS and opioid analgesics for chronic low back pain: a network meta-analysis [Protocol]. Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews, Issue 6. doi: 10.1002/14651858.CD013045. PMCID: PMC6513465
  • Bagg MK, O’Hagan E, Zahara P, Wand BM, Hübscher M, Moseley GL, McAuley JH. (2020). Reviews may overestimate the effectiveness of medicines for back pain: systematic review and meta-analysis. Journal of Clinical Epidemiology. doi: 10.1016/ j.jclinepi.2019.12.006. PMID: 31816418

Medicines for Back Pain – Registrations of Study Protocols:

  • Folly T, Bagg MK, Wewege M, Ferraro MC, Schabrun S, Gustin SM, Day R, McAuley JH. (2019) UMbRELLA: Understanding efficacy and safety of Muscle RELaxant medicines for Low back pain – systematic Literature review and meta-Analysis (protocol).Open Science Framework, available at: https://osf.io/xuw5h
  • Rizzo RN, Bagg MK, Ferraro MC, Wewege M, Cashin A, Leake HB, O’Hagan E, Jones M, McAuley JH. (2020). Efficacy and safety of medicines targeting neurotrophic factors in the management of low back pain: protocol for a systematic review and meta-analysis. Open Science Framework, available at: https://osf.io/zax6d
  • Ferraro MC, Bagg MK, McAuley JH. (2019). RADICAL: Systematic Review of Anti-Depressant Medicines if Considered Analgesics for Low Back Pain (protocol). Open Science Framework, available at: https://osf.io/cedm3

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Medicines for Back Pain

AGReMA – A Guideline for Reporting Mediation Analyses

There are a growing number of studies using mediation analysis to understand the mechanisms of health interventions and exposures. Recent work has shown that the reporting of these studies is heterogenous and incomplete. This problem stifles clinical application, reproducibility, and evidence synthesis. The development and implementation of A Guideline for Reporting Mediation Analyses (AGReMA) will improve the standardization, transparency, and completeness in the reporting of studies that use mediation analysis to understand the mechanisms of health interventions and exposures.

AGReMA Publications

Cashin AG, McAuley JH, Lamb SE, Hopewell S, Kamper SJ, Williams CM, Henschke N, Lee H. (2020). Development of A Guideline for Reporting Mediation Analyses (AGReMA). BMC Med Res Methodol 20(1):19. doi: 10.1186/s12874-020-0915-5. PMID: 32013883

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AGReMA – A Guideline for Reporting Mediation Analyses

HYPNOSIS FOR ANXIETY? ‘DOABLE’ IF YOU HAVE AN OPEN MIND. THE SYDNEY MORNING HERALD, 22ND JANUARY 2020

HYPNOSIS CAN HELP TREAT CHRONIC LOW BACK PAIN. NEURA BLOG, 21 MAY 2018

RESEARCH TEAM

PUBLICATIONS

Efficacy and Safety of Medicines Targeting Neurotrophic Factors in the Management of Low Back Pain: Protocol for a Systematic Review and Meta-analysis.

Rizzo RRN, Ferraro MC, Wewege MA, Cashin AG, Leake HB, O'Hagan ET, Jones MD, Gustin SM, McAuley JH

The aim of this study is to evaluate the efficacy and safety of medicines targeting neurotrophins in patients with LBP and sciatica. This systematic review and meta-analysis will assess the evidence for the efficacy and safety of NGF inhibitors for pain in patients with nonspecific LBP and sciatica. The inclusion of new studies and unpublished data may improve the precision of the effect estimates and guide regulatory actions of the medications for LBP and sciatica.

The mediating effect of pain catastrophizing on pain intensity: The influence of the timing of assessments.

Rizzo RRN, Lee H, Cashin AG, Costa LOP, Gustin SM, McAuley JH

The timing of the assessment influenced the mediating role of pain catastrophizing on pain intensity. These results raise questions on the casual role that pain catastrophizing has on pain intensity. Psychosocial interventions such as clinical hypnosis can reduce pain intensity even when there has been no change in pain catastrophizing.

Hypnosis Enhances the Effects of Pain Education in Patients With Chronic Nonspecific Low Back Pain: A Randomized Controlled Trial.

Rizzo RRN, Medeiros FC, Pires LG, Pimenta RM, McAuley JH, Jensen MP, Costa LOP