Published: May 19, 2011

CBRG managing editor to retire

Vicki Pennick, managing editor of the Cochrane Back Review Group (CBRG) housed at the Institute for Work & Health (IWH), is retiring. CBRG coordinates the publication of literature reviews on the prevention, diagnosis and treatment of back pain, neck pain and other spinal disorders.

When Pennick joined IWH in 1996, she was involved in a project implementing evidence-based guidelines for acute low-back pain in the cities of Peterborough and Guelph, Ont. This foray into back-care evidence got her hooked. In 2002, she took on the role of managing editor (then called coordinator) of CBRG. She’s been at the helm ever since.

Pennick, who officially leaves IWH in June, has seen a lot of change at CBRG during the past decade. The number of randomized and case-controlled trials on back pain now in the Cochrane library has jumped from 685 to over 3,600, and the number of reviews from 19 to 49, 29 of which have been updated at least once.

The management of low-back pain has changed dramatically over the years, she reflects. For instance, no one recommends going to bed for six weeks anymore to relieve back pain.

For more information on CBRG, go to

IWH contributes to back pain book

Institute for Work & Health scientists have contributed to a new book called Evidence- Based Management of Low Back Pain, recently published by Elsevier Science. The book brings together in a single, practical source the latest evidence on the management of acute and chronic low-back pain. Its multidisciplinary approach covers a wide range of treatments – from manual therapies to medical interventions to surgery.

Among the expert contributors are IWH Scientist Dr. Andrea Furlan and Director of Operations Emma Irvin, who helped write the chapter on massage therapy. They and IWH Associate Scientist Dr. Carlo Ammendolia also helped write the chapter on needle acupuncture. To order the book, go to