Local Govt | National News Video | Parliament Headlines | Politics Headlines | Search

 


Help for arthritic backs

Date: 27 November, 2012

Help for arthritic backs


If you are a fit young person but suffer from backache, talk to your doctor.

You may have Ankylosing Spondylitis, a type of arthritis which can strike relatively young people, mainly men, and is often not diagnosed for years. That’s the bad news. The good news is a small team at Waikato Hospital are working together to diagnose and treat the disease.

Led by rheumatologist Dr Douglas White, and including physiotherapist Sarah Wales and clinical nurse specialist Trisha Holmes, all from the Rheumatology Department, the team are concerned many people are suffering in silence when help is available.

“We are seeing a third to a half of who we should be seeing,” says Dr White, who says data from overseas suggests AS affects about 1 per cent of the population.

“We are not seeing that and we could do a lot for these people.”

While this under-reporting is a concern it has risen sharply since a national advertising campaign last year which saw a 64 per cent jump in referrals from GPs

When people with Ankylosing Spondylitis do get the right diagnosis they typically arrive at a Rheumatology Department’s outpatient clinic. These are held twice a month, and provide information and support for patients. There is also a one-hour weekly exercise class at the clinic.

An extension of that is a three-month pilot course of hydrotherapy classes being run by physio Sarah at the hydrotherapy pool at Waterworld. The pilot is being funded by a pharmaceutical company connected with the treatment of the condition.

While there is no cure, medication and exercise programmes can make a huge difference to the quality of people’s lives.

“The men really appreciate the group environment, with their strengthening and stretching. The feedback has been very positive and the men say they can feel the benefits.”
Exercise and stretching help retain mobility and can stop the vertebrae fusing – the worst result of the disease.

In a worst-case scenario that fusion may mean a person can no longer drive and probably not work. In a best-case outcome treatment will allow the person to lead a full, productive life.

This is why Dr White and his team want to get involved early in the process.

“This is a great team here,” said Dr White, whose research work in AS he hopes will help slash the diagnosis time down from the current seven years. “That’s too long, and so much could be done in that time.”

Rheumatoid arthritis is usually diagnosed within months.

Physio Sarah agrees. “This is not as rare as people think and there are options for them.”

Nurse Trisha has done a lot of work supporting the clinics and patients, including creating a database to keep track of people’s progress. She too wants to see better and earlier outcomes for AS people. “I lot of young guys blame sports injuries. But I see young fathers who can’t play with their babies – because of the back pain – so it has a huge impact on their quality of life.”

ENDS

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
 
 
Parliament Headlines | Politics Headlines | Regional Headlines

 

Two Years With New Methods: Crime Stats Show Increase Led By Burglary

The two years of data show an increase in the total victimisation rate of 3.1 per cent, with 12,060 more victimisations in the 2015/16 year when compared to 2014/15 year. From this increase, 72 per cent is attributable to burglaries. More>>

ALSO:

Auckland Relocation Grants: 12 Grants Paid So Far

Since the policy took effect one month ago, 12 applicants have received the non-recoverable grant, supporting 32 people. $54,508 has been paid out, covering things like moving costs, bond, rent in advance and letting fees. More>>

ALSO:

Vaccine Funding Change: HPV Vaccines For All Children

PHARMAC has today announced changes to funded vaccines, which will benefit an extra 100,000 people... The human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccine will be available for all children and adults up to the age of 26 years, and boys will now be included in the HPV school vaccination programme. More>>

ALSO:

Gordon Campbell: On Why The Opinion Polls For Key And Trump Defy Gravity

What is going on? Donald Trump got confirmed as the Republican presidential candidate at a bizarrely chaotic political convention… and promptly received an upwards bump in the polls to where he’s now rating ahead of Hillary Clinton, for only the second time this year. More>>

Sugar: Auckland Leisure Centres Axe Unhealthy Drinks

Auckland Council is to stop selling drinks that are sweetened by sugar from vending machines at its leisure centres in a bid to try to reduce obesity and type 2 diabetes... More>>

ALSO:

Gordon Campbell: On Todd McClay’s Faulty Memory

Time and again, whenever an issue arises the initial response by government is to deny or diminish the problem – nothing to worry about here, everything’s OK, move on. Then, hang on. In line with the usual pattern, as embarrassing details emerged into daylight, the story changed. More>>

ALSO:

Labour's 'Future Of Work': Major Reform Of Careers And Apprenticeships

The next Labour Government will transform careers advice in high schools to ensure every student has a personalised career plan, Leader of the Opposition Andrew Little says. More>>

ALSO:

State Investments Management: Treasury Likes IRD, Not Education Or Corrections

The Inland Revenue Department has scored an 'A' in the first tranche of the Treasury's investor confidence rating for state agencies that manage significant Crown investments and assets, gaining greater autonomy as a result, while the Corrections and Education ministries gained a 'C' rating. More>>

ALSO:

Govt Goal: NZ To Be "Predator Free" By 2050

Prime Minister John Key has today announced the Government has adopted the goal of New Zealand becoming Predator Free by 2050... “That’s why we have adopted this goal. Our ambition is that by 2050 every single part of New Zealand will be completely free of rats, stoats and possums." More>>

ALSO:

Get More From Scoop

 

LATEST HEADLINES

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Regional
Search Scoop  
 
 
Powered by Vodafone
NZ independent news