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A randomised controlled feasibility study of TRAK musculoskeletal digital self-management physiotherapy intervention for individuals with musculoskeletal pain.

Pain of the muscles, joints, bones and soft tissues (musculoskeletal (MSK) pain) affects 18.8 million people in the UK. In Wales approximately 1 in 3 people have a MSK condition, with back pain and knee osteoarthritis being the most common conditions.

Conservative treatments such as exercise and physiotherapy are recommended but they appear to have limited benefit in helping people manage their condition at home, as they often struggle to keep going with regular exercise. Technology like TRAK-MSK has the potential to make a difference.

TRAK-MSK is a new digital physiotherapy intervention for people with MSK pain, that helps people to manage their exercise and pain at home. In this intervention individuals can have up to five online consultations with a specially physiotherapist trained in self-management. The timing and number of appointments will be decided by the participant.

Individuals will have immediate access to the TRAK-MSK website throughout, which provides information, personalised video based exercise plans, progress tracker, individual set challenges and remote access to a physiotherapist. The combination of online consultations with a specially trained physiotherapist and access to the TRAK-MSK website will support individuals to practice and gain the skills to manage their condition themselves at home.


The aim of this study is to find out if TRAK-MSK intervention can be delivered and if people find it acceptable. This study will ask whether people with MSK pain can be recruited and retained to clinical studies of TRAK-MSK and what it costs to deliver the TRAK-MSK intervention.We will see if TRAK-MSK increases people’s confidence to independently manage their pain and help them remain physically active.


TRAK-MSK will be tested using a randomized study design in 2 different locations across Wales that represent a spread in wealth and population density. By randomized, we mean that people who agree to take part will receive either usual physiotherapy appointment (which involve exercises and advice) or the new TRAK-MSK intervention based on chance.


A series of patient, public and clinician involvement workshops have informed the development of this research proposal. Individuals have given feedback on the content of TRAK-MSK website, the recruitment strategy, the use of online methods for registering and consenting to take part and the dissemination strategy.  A public member is a co-applicant on this application and will attend project meetings, contribute to developing and reviewing information resources, and ensure clarity of key messages from the study.


The findings will be circulated to a variety of audiences and tailored accordingly. We will hold a feedback event for key stakeholders. Findings will be distributed publicly via NHS and university websites, social media accounts and press releases in collaboration with Cardiff and Vale and Cardiff University press offices. Our findings will be presented to the academic community via publication in open access peer reviewed academic journals and at an international conference.


Results due to be published May 2024.

Key facts

Start date 31 May 2022
End date 31 May 2023
Grant value £229,091
  • Ongoing

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