Background Back pain is common; 84% of people suffer with back pain at some point in their life.(1) 1.3%>5.3% of back pain sufferers have Axial Spondyloarthritis (AxSpA), a chronic inflammatory condition predominantly involving the spine and sacroiliac joints (SIJ).(1,2) With recent developments for the treatments of AxSpA, this condition can be treated much more effectively, reducing pain and improving quality of life. Differentiating between mechanical and inflammatory back pain remains a challenge. The mean delay in diagnosis is still 8.54 years in the UK.(3) A lot of work has been done to raising awareness with medics and Allied Health Professionals. Improving the understanding of back pain sufferers also has a role in reducing the time to diagnosis.
Objectives To raise awareness of AxSpA, and ensure patients (pts) get referred correctly to receive appropriate investigations, diagnosis and treatment.
Methods An event was organised with the objective of raising awareness of AxSpA and identifying those suffering with the condition. The event was advertised through local press, social media and East Kent Hospital University Trust (GP Practices, physiotherapists, osteopaths and chiropractors).
Attendees completed a back pain questionnaire before, immediately after and at 6 months after the event. The event consisted of 3 lectures: differentiating inflammatory and mechanical back pain, management on inflammatory back pain and 10 top tips for back pain. The National Ankylosing Spondylitis Society was also represented. An “Ask The Expert” session followed this, where pts had the opportunity to ask a panel consisting of therapists, rheumatologists and NASS representative questions.
Results 104 people with undiagnosed back pain, attended the event. 87 questionnaires were completed the on the day; 54 described themselves as back pain sufferers and 33 were supporters of back pain sufferers. The response rate at 6 months was 28 (52%) As a result of the survey, 5 pts were diagnosed with AxSpA, with a further 9 undergoing further investigations in secondary care (Table).
These results not only highlight that, as a result of this event, 5 people were diagnosed with AxSpA, but also demonstrate that there is a substantial amount of “undiagnosed” back pain, needing different treatment pathways.
Conclusions Educational events such as this can facilitate early diagnosis and treatment of pts with AxSpA. The high response rate at 6 months illustrates the event was well received and useful to the audience. Further education events would be useful both for pts and professionals to facilitate diagnosis and early treatment.
Balague, et al (2012). Non Specific low Back pain. The Lancet, pp.482–491.
Hamilton, L et al (2015). The prevalence of axial Spondyloarthritis in the UK: a cross-sectional cohort study. Musculoskeletal Disorders, 6,pp.392
Hamilton, L et al (2014). The prevalence of AxSpA in the UK, a cross sectional cohort study in a primary care population. Rheumatology, 53, pp.30–31
Acknowledgement Claire Harris, Andrew Keat, NASS, Deborah Russell, Robin Withrington
Disclosure of Interest L. Van Rossen Grant/research support from: Abbvie, Pfizer, UCB