The New Zealand Association of Musculoskeletal Medicine is an organisation of NZ registered Medical Practitioners who have a particular interest in conditions affecting the musculoskeletal system.
All doctors who practice Musculoskeletal Medicine have previously had an extensive background in General Practice and some continue to practice as family doctors. This means Musculoskeletal Specialists and General Practitioners with a Musculoskeletal Special Interest are qualified to take a “whole person” approach to the diagnosis and treatment of these common conditions.
Patients usually come with pain or disability affecting the spine (cervical, thoracic and lumbar), the shoulder or hip (pelvic) girdles and the upper and lower limbs. Problems diagnosed by Musculoskeletal Specialists include muscular and soft tissues injuries or disorders, bone disorders, joint injuries and arthritis of various kinds and simple or complex pain conditions that affect a person’s movement patterns. These conditions become more common as a person gets older.
Treatment by musculoskeletal doctors varies and includes giving information about the condition, pain management strategies, manual therapy, acupuncture and dry needling, trigger point treatments, soft tissue or joint injections, drug therapy, and specific remedial exercises or rehabilitation programmes. Some have specialised training in diagnostic high-tech imaging procedures including nerve blocks and spinal joint injections.
Musculoskeletal doctors work closely with your GP and health practitioners in other disciplines (such as Physiotherapists and Occupational Therapists) and other medical specialists (such as Orthopaedic Surgeons and Rheumatologists) to ensure your medical needs are met effectively and safely.
There are two qualification levels of musculoskeletal practitioner:
- Musculoskeletal Medicine Specialists can be funded for specialist services by the Accident Compensation Corporation and Health Insurance Companies.
- General Practitioners with a Special Interest in Musculoskeletal Medicine are funded only as General Practitioners unless they provide a service in an isolated area.
At this point in time there are few publically funded Musculoskeletal Specialist services in New Zealand. Ask you GP if there is one in your area.