351 The Parade, Island Bay, Wellington, New Zealand, 6023 | +64 4 383 9284 (P) | +64 4 383 9285 (F) | pacificorth@xtra.co.nz | edi:markjswd
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How we diagnose back and neck problems

We want to help you understand your problem and the treatment options available so you can make informed decisions.

We have an orderly approach to assessing

back and neck problems and a systematic

approach to treatment.

We consult face to face and do not offer initial or follow-up consultation by telephone, email or SkypeTM.  We understand that some patients travel considerable distance to attend and we will do everything we can to be as efficient as possible. When you come to the consultation you will be asked to complete pain score sheets and mark on a diagram where you feel your pain or other symptoms.  You will also complete and sign a form permitting us to obtain relevant information from other medical or allied health professionals and health related organisations.

History - the story of your problem

The story of your problem is important as most of the time we can narrow down on the likely diagnosis of your condition just by listening to the description of how your symptoms started, where you feel them, how they affect you, and then how they have changed over time.  Specific questions about your problem will also be asked along with questions about your general health.

Examination - what your body tells us

A relevant examination will be carried out in order to assess your functional capabilities and then to do specific mechanical and neurological tests to confirm the likely diagnosis and exclude serious and sinister conditions.

Tests, x-rays and scans - looking inside

Once we have a working diagnosis we will often (but not always) confirm it with tests, x-rays and scans.  This will clarify the diagnosis and enable us to advise on treatment options.

Management plan

Once we have a good idea of what is the cause of the problem, we will discuss treatment options.  Usually one option is much better than any other option and we want to help you understand why we are recommending that particular option. Once a diagnosis has been made, management options fall into the following groups - the best option(s) will be discussed with you: allowing more time for your body to heal, naturally; medication for pain, inflammation and nerve pain; therapy, such as physiotherapy, chiropractic, osteopathy, etc; diagnostic and potentially therapeutic injections (only in very specific situations); surgery.
Mark J Sherwood, Orthopaedic and Spinal Surgeon Island Bay, Wellington, New Zealand
Pacific Orthopaedics