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Papers of the Week

Papers: 5 Jun 2021 - 11 Jun 2021

2021 Apr 20



Reframing how we care for people with persistent non-traumatic musculoskeletal pain. Suggestions for the rehabilitation community.


Lewis JS, Stokes EK, Gojanovic B, Gellatly P, Mbada C, Sharma S, Diener I, O'Sullivan P
Physiotherapy. 2021 Apr 20; 112:143-149.
PMID: 34102533.


There have been repeated calls to re-evaluate how clinicians provide care for people presenting with persistent non-traumatic musculoskeletal conditions. One suggestion is to move away from the 'we can fix and cure you' model to adopting an approach that is more consistent with approaches used when managing other persistent non-communicable diseases; education, advice, a major focus on self-management including lifestyle behavioural change, physical activity and medications as required. Currently the global delivery of musculoskeletal care has many of the elements of a 'super wicked problem', namely conflict of interest from stake-holders due to the consequences of change, prevailing expectation of a structural diagnosis and concomitant fix for musculoskeletal pain, persistent funding of high risk, more expensive care when low risk more economic viable options that don't impact on the quality of outcome exist, and an unquestionable need to find a solution now with the failure resulting in a growing social and economic burden for future generations. To address these issues, 100 participants included clinicians, educators and researchers from low-, middle- and high-income countries, eight presenters representing the physiotherapy, sport medicine and the orthopaedic professions and the insurance industry, together with three people who shared their lived experiences of persistent musculoskeletal pain, discussed the benefits and barriers of implementing change to address this problem. This paper presents the results from the stakeholders' contextual analysis and forms the basis for the proposed next steps from an action and advocacy perspective.