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Musculoskeletal Disorders Continue to be Pain in the Neck for UAE Healthcare Providers

The Ambulatory Healthcare Services (AHS) held a one-day course  recently with that addressed specific issues relating to (MSDs),  including the difficulties diagnosing damage or disorder of the joints  and other tissues in the back or the upper/lower limbs.

Susan Harrington, Head of Marketing and Business Development for BMJ Masterclasses, commented, “Musculoskeletal disorders affect so many people in the region and cost healthcare providers and employers considerably, so there is a real need to increase awareness of the symptoms, improve early diagnosis and administer appropriate treatment.”

Professor Martin Underwood, who has a research interest in the community management of chronic musculoskeletal disorders, presented a session about back and neck pain to over 300 medical practitioners at the Rotana Beach Hotel in Abu Dhabi. Research suggests that low back pain is now a common problem in the , affecting an estimated 70-80% of adults at some point during their lifetime.

The main focus of Professor Underwood’s session was chronic non-specific low back pain, a very common condition, seen every day in UAE clinics. Professor Underwood’s presentation also covered the issue of whiplash, which was especially relevant for the medical practitioners present, as there are a high number of car accidents in the UAE each year. In the UK, the financial consequences of whiplash associated disorders are stark with 570,000 people each year making insurance claims, a 33% increase over the last three years, costing insurance companies $3.27 billion annually, adding $147 to the cost of an annual car insurance policy.

Also on the program, was Dr. Richard Smith, a consultant in rheumatology and musculoskeletal medicine at Salisbury Hospital and a tutor at the British Institute of Musculoskeletal Medicine, who gave a presentation on hip and knee joint disorders. Using a series of case studies, Dr. Smith discussed the management of patients with knee and hip pain, including the key aspects in assessment with practical demonstrations, current treatments and a comparison of primary care approach to management.

Dr. Smith’s summary was particularly pertinent as according to the Emirates Arthritis Foundation, arthritis affects 20% of the population of the UAE, yet only 6,000 people have been officially diagnosed. “Both knee and hip pain may present as acute or chronic. True hip disorder presents with groin pain with possible radiation to the knee. Most common acute injuries to the knee are Anterior Curiae Ligament and Menisci. Common chronic knee conditions include Osteoarthritis, Iliotibial Band Friction Syndrome and Patellofemoral knee pain,” he said.

The chair and final speaker of the day, Dr. Elspeth Wise, who was recently awarded an MD for research focused on GP registrars’ musculoskeletal education, addressed the issue of shoulder pain. She particularly focused on clinical examination and management including exercises and injection techniques. Dr. Wise also highlighted potential pitfalls in the management of common conditions affecting the shoulder.

“This is the first in what we hope will be lead to a series of courses. BMJ Masterclasses can bring leading expert specialists to Abu Dhabi to help meet the learning needs of doctors across the region,” added Harrington.

BMJ Masterclasses are interactive learning courses for doctors from the BMJ Group. For more information log on to

Media Contact:

Jack Dulka

Account Executive

PO Box 502701

Office 106

Al Sufouh Tower

Dubai Media City

Dubai, United Arab Emirates

Direct : +971 4 3652713

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