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

#Kexit: Prime Minister John Key Announces Resignation

Prime Minister John Key has announced that he’s resigning as Prime Minister in seven days’ time. He made the unexpected announcement at a 12.45 press conference at Parliament, called with less than an hour’s notice.

“It has been an enormous privilege to be Prime Minister of New Zealand, and these last eight years have been an incredible experience. Throughout these years I have given everything I could to this job that I cherish, and this country that I love...“ More>>

Gordon Campbell: On The Key Resignation

The resignation of John Key is one thing. The way that Key and his deputy Bill English have screwed the scrum on the leadership succession vote (due on December 12) is something else again. It remains to be seen whether the party caucus – ie, the ambitious likes of Steven Joyce, Judith Collins, Paula Bennett, and Amy Adams – will simply roll over... More>>

 

Q+A: Labour's Michael Wood Wins Mt Roskill

Labour’s Michael Wood, who last night won a 6,000 vote majority in the Mt Roskill by-election, says the reason for the win was simple, clear messaging... More>>

ALSO:

Gordon Campbell: On Anne Tolley’s Callous Folly

Last week’s conflict between Social Development Minister Anne Tolley and District Court judge Carolyn Henwood illustrated quite a few of the flaws in the system. More>>

ALSO:

Members’ Bills: Greens' Domestic Violence And Loans Bills Pulled From Ballot

Jan Logie’s Domestic Violence-Victims' Protection Bill introduces workplace protections for victims of domestic violence, including allowing victims to request paid domestic violence leave for up to 10 days... Gareth Hughes’ Bill allows Kiwis with student loans to defer their student loan repayments into a first home savings scheme. More>>

ALSO:

IPCA: Police Did Not 'Deliberately' Use Pepper Spray On 10-Year-Old

"When spraying the man, the officer did not properly consider the necessity of using pepper spray in a confined space, the likelihood that it would affect the other innocent passengers or the fact that he was using a more powerful spray." More>>

ALSO:

Donor Bill Passes: Full Income Compensation For Live Organ Donors

Unanimous cross-party support for the Compensation for Live Organ Donors Bill represents a critical step in reducing the burgeoning waiting list for kidney donations, according to Kidney Health New Zealand chief executive Max Reid. More>>

ALSO:

Earthquake Response: Emergency Legislation Prepared

Three new Bills have been drafted in the wake of the magnitude 7.8 earthquake on November 14 to ensure the government can enable affected communities to respond quickly and efficiently. More>>

ALSO:

Get More From Scoop

 

LATEST HEADLINES

 
 
 
 
 
 
More RSS  RSS News AlertsNews Alerts
 
 
Regional
Search Scoop  
 
 
Powered by Vodafone
NZ independent news