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Back Pain Programme Launched in Auckland

PROCARE MEDIA RELEASE

Back Pain Programme Launched in Auckland

15 February 2006

A new primary healthcare programme to help Aucklanders manage short-term (acute) low back pain has been launched by ProCare Health today.

Medical statistics show a third of all adults will have at least one back pain episode every year and thousands of New Zealanders suffer from acute low back pain on a regular basis.

ProCare Health Medical Executive Dr John Cameron says the new Back 2 Action Programme, which is supported by ACC, encourages patients to self-manage their acute low back problems.

“It helps people acquire a combination of skills, from simple exercises to strengthen the back through to skills which help them deal with any associated anxiety or depression,” says Dr Cameron.

ProCare Health has hundreds of GPs affiliated to it throughout the Auckland region and, from today, these doctors will be able to join up for the Back 2 Action Programme and recommend it to patients who qualify.

The programme is designed to provide patients with skills to manage their low back problems over the course of their lifetime. It uses both physiotherapists and clinical psychologists, specializing in pain management, to educate patients.

According to Dr Cameron, many traditional treatments have been ineffective for the management of low back pain. "In the past, patients would often have investigations such as x-ray or MRI, but these have now been shown to be largely unhelpful for the management of acute low back pain. Similarly, treatments involving manipulation have shown little evidence of any long term benefit.”

Dr Cameron says many people have acute low back pain more than once, but that does not mean there has been damage. “The key is to improve fitness and learn to self-manage the problem.”

ACC Healthwise General Manager, David Rankin, says early appropriate management of short term low back pain has been demonstrated to be very effective in assisting people back to health and fitness.

“ACC is supporting ProCare’s Back 2 Action Programme because it provides acute low back pain sufferers with the skills to stay active and continue their usual activities, which is the best way to help recovery,” says Dr Rankin.

“ACC is delighted to be partnering with local GPs to roll this programme out to Auckland,” he adds.

Notes to editors:

- The GPs involved in the Back 2 Action Pain Management Programme must be from practices affiliated to ProCare, and need to undertake training before signing up. Their patients must meet certain criteria before being recommended for the programme, for example the patient must have been suffering from acute low back pain for fewer than three months.

- The psychologists working on the programme are from ProCare Psychological Services (PPS) unit. The physiotherapists are from ACC’s Endorsed Provider Network or are AUT academic staff.

- ProCare Health represents more than 500 independent GPs throughout the greater Auckland region. Depending on where their practices are situated, the GPs are aligned to one of ProCare’s three Primary Health Organisations (PHOs) in north, central and southern Auckland.

ENDS

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