North West

Virtual reality, augmented reality and mirror therapy for musculoskeletal pain

Musculoskeletal conditions are prevalent, often chronic, disorders that impact both physical and mental wellbeing. Exercise therapy is a common physiotherapy treatment, yet adherence to home exercise programmes is low, due in part to pain during exercise. Virtual reality therapy has been shown to be effective at treating acute pain conditions (e.g. burns and dental pain) by disrupting the pain matrix pathways, reducing perception of pain. However, such therapies have not been reviewed in the context of MSK pain. The primary objective of this systematic review was to determine the efficacy of virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR) in the treatment of pain from MSK conditions. The secondary objective was to investigate the impact of VR and AR on disability levels from MSK conditions.

The role of Men's Sheds in promoting the physical and mental well-being of older men.

The active and healthy ageing agenda challenges the perception that old age is a negative experience and recognises the positive contributions that older adults can make to their communities. However, successful ageing in place requires community-based support for older adults that facilitates social participation, independence and being active. Older men are less likely to join community groups where they can develop social ties and less gender specific support services are available for them.

Men's Sheds (MiS) is an initiative that aims to mitigate this by fostering the building of social networks between older men by providing social space for them to meet and undertake physical activities such as woodwork or metalwork.

The purpose of this research is to investigate the impact of MiS on the physical health and mental well-being of the attendees.

The value of a Consultant Physiotherapist within a Primary Care Musculoskeletal Interface Services: Part of the Spinal Multi-Disciplinary Team

Patients with spinal pathologies can range from simple mechanical low back pain to complex pathology requiring urgent medical or surgical intervention. The national low back pain pathway recommends the use of 'triage and treat' practitioners working at an advanced level to manage the majority of these patients, yet the skill mix of such services varies throughout the country resulting in delays for complex patients and unnecessary waits for surgical services for others who could be adequately managed conservatively.

Collaborative cross-agency service delivery to address public health issues within an MSK setting: evaluation of ´Healthy Mind, Health Body´

Patients accessing Physiotherapy in Blackburn demonstrate multiple co-morbidities, physical and biopsychosocial issues. This unique, cost-effective, collaborative service redesign addresses the specific co-existing health issues and behaviours associated with MSK conditions in Blackburn and offers a cost-effective, high quality solution to empower and support the MSK population to better manage their own health and well-being in alignment with Public Health England priorities.

Reducing emergency admissions for primary constipation: a pilot study to cut costs in an acute hospital trust.

Constipation is a common condition that impacts quality of life, often causing psychological distress and incurring considerable healthcare costs in terms of unnecessary emergency admissions due to poor management.

Aintree University Hospital offers one of the only Specialist Physiotherapy led healthy bowel clinics (HBC) in the UK that assess, treat and manage patients presenting with functional bowel problems, including constipation. Patients referred into the service are directed straight to HBC and the majority will never see a medic. The service is run solely by Physiotherapists. We can refer for appropriate tests (transit marker studies, defecating proctograms, anorectal physiology and various blood tests). We independently interpret results and decide on appropriate treatment/management. Our service offers specialist assessment, medication management, lifestyle advice, pelvic floor re-education, Posterior Tibial Nerve Stimulation, rectal irrigation and cognitive behavioural therapy. The majority of our patients are managed conservatively as surgery is rarely an option.

From December 2013 to November 2014, Hospital Episode Statistics (HES) data showed that 301 patients were admitted to Aintree University Hospital with a primary diagnosis of constipation, 216 of these through the Accident and Emergency Department (AED), with an average length of stay of 3.3 days. The HBC Physiotherapists recognised that there should be a more cost-effective, efficient way to manage these patients and proposed a new pathway. The pathway allows patients to manage their symptoms in their own home with support from specialist Physiotherapists, enhancing patient dignity. Assessment identified 5 patients with potential red flag symptoms and allowed appropriate onward referral.

Engaging public and patients to develop a website to assist people to remain in or return to work.

Musculoskeletal conditions are the second biggest cause of absenteeism in the UK representing 28.2 million working days lost per annum. Current literature suggests that work issues are generally insufficiently addressed in primary healthcare and there is little evidence that evaluates any existing workplace interventions in this setting.

To address this issue locally, North West Boroughs Healthcare Physiotherapy Service is developing a new work and health pathway, 'Work Wise', to assist patients to remain in or return to work. An element of the pathway is the development of a website to provide accessible supportive resources and signposting material.

To inform website design and content we have undertaken extensive engagement with patients, public and employers and we wish to present our findings to assist the development of other initiatives in this important area.

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