Objective: To review the diagnostic descriptions and treatment recommendations for back and neck pain on the new workers compensation medical certificates and compare these with evidence-based guidelines. Design: Retrospective analysis of 251 medical certificates of workers with compensable neck and back pain held by a workers compensation insurer. Main outcome measures: Diagnoses given and treatments prescribed by the nominated treating doctors. Results: The diagnoses most frequently used were 'sprain/strain' and 'pain/ache'. Physiotherapy was the most frequently prescribed treatment, followed by rest and medication. Rest was prescribed for 68 (27%) workers, 87% of whom were classified as having an acute injury. Activity-based treatments were prescribed for 45 (18%) workers. Conclusions: Not all doctors used diagnostic terms consistent with recommended anatomical taxonomy. The drug therapy prescribed was consistent with current evidence-based treatment guidelines. However, the prescribing of rest, and the omission, in most cases, of explicit recommendations to resume normal activities, including work, are not consistent with current guidelines.
|Number of pages||4|
|Journal||Medical Journal of Australia|
|Publication status||Published - 16 Oct 2000|