News Video | Policy | GPs | Hospitals | Medical | Mental Health | Welfare | Search

 

96% of back pain can be treated by GPs

Media release

96% of back pain can be treated by GPs – without surgery


Low back pain and sciatica will be come under the microscope at a Melbourne conference involving four Australasian medical organisations specialising in the treatment of these conditions.

The Australasian Musculoskeletal Medicine Conference will be held at The Sebel, Albert Park 17-19 October.

According to conference organiser, Dr Vic Wilk, Melbourne musculoskeletal physician, 96% of back pain partients who are referred to orthopaedic surgeons do not require surgery.

“They can be treated in general practice,” Dr Wilk said.

“Low back pain costs Australians approximately $1 billion per annum and could be treated better than it is at present.”

He said the conference will discuss assessment and treatment of back pain according to simple evidence-based guidelines instead of rushing into overuse of high-tech investigations which don’t always find the source of the pain.

“Much back pain is self-limiting and can be treated by GPs in their own practices”.

“We would like to see a reduction in the current overloads experienced by hospital orthopaedic outpatient departments as more GPs become confident in assessing and treating back pain.

“GPs already have a solid medical education and are easily able to adopt the measures recommended in all of the guidelines in treating this problem.”

Dr Wilk and his organisation, the Australasian Faculty of Musculoskeletal Medicine, along with the Australian Association of Musculoskeltal Medicne, the Australian College of Physical Medicine, and the New Zealand Association of Musculoskeletal Medicine, will bring together a number of experts in the fields of surgery, radiology, psychology and rehabilitation.

Professor Nikolai Bogduk (Newcastle) and Dr Brian McGuirk are keynote speakers. Both have already published landmark work on treatment of acute low back pain, and their work forms the basis of the guidelines used in Australia.

“Most episodes of back pain are not suited to surgery. Most can be dealt with using conservative measures. Of course, one needs skills to be able to sort out those needing surgical attention and those who do not.

Dr McGuirk will present a study showing that 82% of patients referred to surgeons for treatment of back pain did not need to see the surgeon at all. And of the other 18%, less than one-quarter required surgery.

“Our aim is to get all GPs skilled in this area of medicine so that we can stem the flood of disability due to back pain,” Dr Wilk said..

“We can do this by having the GP intervene earlier and more effectively – and without having to perform too many expensive – and sometimes harmful – investigations.”

The doctors who practise in this area full-time use a variety of techniques, ranging from manual (hands-on) treatments, psychological interventions, and behavioural therapy, exercise therapy, to injections into muscles and joints and around nerves.

Unlike surgeons, chiropractors or physiotherapists GPs are dealing with the whole of the patient’s health problems, and back pain is just a part of this.

The conference will combine scientific meetings with practical workshops.


ENDS

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
 
 
Culture Headlines | Health Headlines | Education Headlines

 
Review: A Rose By Any Other Name Would Smell As Sweet

The Royal New Zealand Ballet has accepted the challenge of this heart-touching tragedy and largely succeeded. More>>

ALSO:

NZ's First Male IAAF Gold: Tom Walsh's Historic Shot Put Victory

Although feeling very sore but with a great feeling Tom Walsh took his place as number one on the victory dais to receive his much deserved gold medal. More>>

ALSO:

Scoop Review Of Books: Q&A: Hard To Find Books

"Unfortunately we are in crisis and this friendly dinosaur faces extinction… Our only hope is to try and raise funds to buy the building and restore it to its glory, either fully funded or with a viable deposit." More>>

Kid Lit: Lost Mansfield Story Discovered At Wellington Library

Previously undiscovered letters and a story written by a young Katherine Mansfield were recently unearthed in Wellington City Library’s archives by a local author researching a book about the famous writer. More>>

 
 
 
 
 
 

LATEST HEADLINES

  • CULTURE
  • HEALTH
  • EDUCATION