Its debilitating symptoms affect nearly one-in-three Australians but many of us wouldn’t even recognise the name.
Musculoskeletal pain is thought to be responsible for up to a fifth of all visits to the doctor and causes more disability than any other condition.
It includes back and neck pain, osteoarthritis and shoulder pain, yet research from the University of Western Australia shows many sufferers lack a clear understanding of how to manage it.
Researcher Dr Ivan Lin says this can lead to unnecessary scans and ineffective treatment.
“It’s important that patients are provided with information about the cause of their pain and what they can do to self-manage it,” Dr Lin says.
Incorrect beliefs not only hinder treatment, according to the study, they may also make it worse, especially when patients also suffer anxiety or depression.
“For example, if a person has the perception that their condition is caused by severe and permanent damage to a part of their body then they might over-protect it and avoid all physical activity which could worsen the problem.”
Dr Lin’s research has helped inform a new set of guidelines and a more wholistic, patient-centred approach to the treatment of muscular-skeletal pain.
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