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Jan 30, 2013

MORE can be done to help those suffering from back pain in Brunei, said a visiting doctor from the United States.

In an interview with The Brunei Times, Dr Andrew J Haig, a professor from the Department of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation at the University of Michigan said that more than a thousand research papers on back pain were published every year.

"A lot is known about back pain," Dr Haig said.

He said Brunei was short of doctors who could orchestrate multidisciplinary teams to treat back pain, and specialists who could perform electromyography for spinal disorders - a technique for evaluating and recording the electrical activity produced by skeletal muscles, and considered to be a more conclusive diagnostic tool than MRI (magnetic resonance imaging) or CT (computed axial tomography) scans.

Dr Haig said there was a shortage of doctors who specialised in re-rotation and physical medicine.

"There is nobody to do that kind of work," he said, adding that there had been discussions with the Ministry of Health on building the kind of expertise needed to properly treat patients in Brunei with back problems.

FASTBACK, a therapy protocol equipped with a multidisciplinary team to treat back problems, has been introduced at the Jerudong Park Medical Centre (JPMC), and is now ready to receive patients.

Dr Haig advised people who have had backache for six to 10 weeks to visit the JPMC to take part in the programme.

Patients accepted onto the programme will be looked at by a therapist, who will advise them on how to adapt their lifestyles to help relieve their suffering.

They will also look at the mechanical causes of their back pain and suggest appropriate exercises, Dr Haig said.

Subsequent visits will look into refining the exercise programme, he added.

By the end of the programme, either the patients will be cured, or they will have enough knowledge to help themselves, Dr Haig said.

However, he said that those who had chronic back pain for more than three months, would not be suitable for the FASTBACK programme.

He advised them to consult a therapist instead.

He added that the FASTBACK programme was limited to four patient visits.

The FASTBACK team consists of a physiotherapist, an occupational therapist, a psychologist, and a medical practitioners.


The Brunei Times

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