19 and 16, and a daughter aged 11. Separated from her husband for EXAMINATION
four years, she looks after the children by herself, apart from every On examination, Joni was very guarded when moving in any direction second weekend when her ex-husband has the younger two children.
and held herself very rigidly throughout the consultation. She winced Joni has had low back pain for the past eight weeks and was referred when she did move, and said that she felt as though her spine was by her GP, due to a failure to improve. The pain had started after she going to break. She asked if she could lie down on the bed two or had done some ‘spring cleaning’ at home: she was lifting the couch when she felt her back ‘go’. She took some Panadol on and off for Lumbar extension, lateral fl exion and rotation were all limited to one- the fi rst few days and then saw a massage therapist on three or four quarter range, with extension being the most painful. Joni was most occasions over a three-week period. Joni said that she felt better reluctant to fl ex her spine, moving her hands only one-third of the for a few hours after the massage, but then the pain returned. She way down her thighs. All lumbar spine movements produced back then consulted her GP, who said that she might have strained her pain alone. Neurological examination was unremarkable. discs and prescribed Celebrex. Joni was very concerned about the possibility of a disc injury; her aunt had had a back problem requiring Joni was very painful on palpation through the whole lumbar spine. two occasions of spinal surgery, after which she was never pain-free. There was considerable spasm through both paraspinal groups of muscles. Deep muscle contractions were very diffi cult to ascertain Joni’s pain slowly worsened and she started taking two Panadeine due to this spasm, but there was obviously signifi cant global muscle Extra (15 mg codeine) tablets, 2–3 times per day. On a number of involvement. She found it diffi cult to stand on either leg alone due to occasions, she had taken four tablets at night due to an inability to sleep. She felt bad doing this, as she normally tried to avoid medications as much as possible. ANALYSIS AND TREATMENT
Joni described pain across her whole lumbar spine, equal right and Given such a history and presentation, as her therapist what would left side, rating it as a constant 6/10, with intermittent sharp pains you be thinking? Why does she still have pain? How do you think she on movement of up to 10/10. She described intermittent bilateral posterior upper leg pain to the level of her knees up to 3/10.
What you may have noticed as you read through this case was The pain at night prevented Joni from sleeping well. The back pain a number of features that suggested that this was more than built up during the day at work, proportional to the time that she just a soft-tissue strain to the lumbar spine. As noted above, a spent sitting. She tried to get up and move around, but her job was biopsychosocial understanding of pain demands that a holistic mostly sedentary—she worked four days a week in human resources view be taken. Joni identifi ed worries about her situation, and her at a middle management level—requiring her to sit at her desk and medication use was erratic, even dangerous. The last eight weeks develop protocol statements. When she was not at her desk, Joni had seemingly taken their toll on her, and life seemed somewhat attended meetings in the company boardroom, usually lasting for 2–3 hours with only a short break halfway through. Her pain was always There are a number of simple pain questionnaires that are becoming more frequently used to evaluate the psychosocial presentation Joni thought her pain was making her lose concentration and of patients in pain. Physiotherapists working with compensable affecting her ability to perform her job, which was quite stressful patients would be aware of some of them, as there is increasing (although she normally enjoyed the challenge). She had been in her requirement from funding bodies to use them. The questionnaires current role for only eight months and was concerned because she are used to identify certain features of patient beliefs, mood had already taken a total of 12 days off work due to her pain. At that and other cognitive factors associated with increased disability. time, she wasn’t sure whether she would be able to continue.
Identifi cation of these factors is important because there is now extensive evidence that it is the psychosocial variables that are Joni had no relevant history of injury or illness. Indeed, she wondered the more important risk factors for patients who will continue into if her current level of pain was normal for an injury, given she had InMotion July 2013 23

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Alakesh Bera Lecturer II Office Phone: (210) 458-5757 Office: BSE 1.344 E-Mail Areas of Specialization Research: • Protein structure- function relationship and structure-based drug design • Micro-RNA based gene regulation and cell signaling in pancreatic cancer • Molecular virology Teaching: • Basic Chemistry • Introduction of basic principles of ch


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