Back therapy breakthrough

Back-to-basic
treatments for musculoskeletal problems hailed as answer to poor success rates
in area

A
new generation of treatments for musculoskeletal problems can overcome the
"dismal" legacy of failure, the Association of Occupational Health
Nurse Practitioners conference heard last month.

Speaking
to OH before the conference, Barbican Health specialist Jill Pollock urged
early intervention and a multi-disciplinary team effort.

"It
is a very pragmatic approach," said Pollock, head of musculoskeletal services
at Barbican. "It goes away from hi-tech equipment and back to basic
principles about combining the ideal group of practitioners.

"The
primary focus is on what support to get, and fast-track the individual to the
most appropriate course."

The
service also involves feedback on workplace design, and gives a central role to
the company OH adviser, who is often the case manager, Pollock said.

Employers
can be won over by considering the costs of non-treatment or inappropriate
treatment. They are also increasingly aware of liability risks where the
workplace design may have contributed to a problem.

Orthopaedic
physicians have been underused, she argued, and can often identify the kind of
physiotherapy needed.

GPs
have often not had the time to follow guidelines on treating back problems.
"They have not been implementing early referral and are still saying ‘Go
and rest and come back in a month’."

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