This small group meeting with a trained facilitator provides practices with a clinical update and an opportunity for interactive discussion with peers regarding quality use of imaging and optimising management in their patients with low back pain. The activity emphasises the importance of applying a risk stratification approach with a focus on psychosocial assessment, to identify risk factors for poor prognosis and deciding on targeted interventions for their condition. GPs are encouraged to reinforce the central role of staying active in the management of low back pain. Data from the NPS MedicineInsight program will be provided to help GPs and practice staff draw insights from current practice.
Relevance to General Practice
Low back pain is the leading cause for individuals to leave the work force, lose productive life years and depend on the welfare system, being responsible for the third highest cause of burden of disease in Australia.
Most low pain back is non-specific and self-limiting with most cases resolving within a few weeks. Imaging has no role in patients with non-specific low back pain, but may be considered to investigate serious pathologies if suspected clinically. Imaging does not change management options for patients with non-specific low back pain and is associated with significant harms.
This educational visit will provide an opportunity for GPs to improve their management of non- specific low back pain without the use of imaging and how to address patient expectations. The activity will identify the importance of psychosocial assessment to help reduce risk of developing chronic low back pain.
- Use a targeted history and physical examination in the diagnosis of low back pain.
- Identify the limited role of imaging in low back pain, except when an underlying serious condition is suspected.
- Use a risk stratification approach to identify risk factors for poor prognosis (yellow flags) in patients with low back pain.
- Outline the benefits of activity and the limited role of medicines in managing low back pain.
- Discuss your practice’s approach to prioritising improvement in the care of patients with low back pain.
Domains of General Practice
D1. Communication skills and the patient-doctor relationship
D2. Applied professional knowledge and skills
D3. Population health and the context of general practice
D4. Professional and ethical role
D5. Organisational and legal dimensions
Curriculum Contextual Units
- Adult health
- Care of older people