The Acute Low Back Pain Pathway for the management of back pain in the West Norfolk area mirrors that of the equivalent pathway which has been running in North East Essex for many years. The Essex scheme has produced a wealth of data, and published those results widely. It is seen as a template for the wider involvement of chiropractors in NHS provision.

Whilst the data from the West Norfolk area is more limited, we do know that satisfaction rates for GPs are around 92% and patients around 96%, and that the average waiting time between when we receive the patients details and when we see them is a few days. There’s more data here.

The pathway is for acute low back pain, including recurrent or episodic pain, acute-on-chronic pain, and pain which has a referred or neurological component. It is not for chronic pain, that is pain which has been apparent on most days for a year or more.

My colleague Jan-Paul Middleton and I are working from five locations in the area, to enable as many patients as possible to be seen whilst traveling short distances. We see most of our patients at our main practice in King’s Lynn, which is open five and half days a week including three evenings, but we are also working from the Burnham Market Surgery, in the North East; the Snettisham Surgery, north of King’s Lynn; and the Plowright Medical Centre in Swaffham.

The patient will choose where they go, and who they would like to be seen by, but may ask for your direction or advice. You may choose to give such guidance based on the facilities provided by any practitioner; by your past experience of them; or you may choose not to give any direction at all, but advise the patient that they will need to make their own decision when contacted by the Choose and Book staff. If, at the time of your consultation with the patient, a decision is made on who they would like to see, you can mark this clearly on the referral form, which then makes the job of the Choose and Book staff a little simpler.

If you would like to get in touch with us with any queries about the way the pathway is run, do feel free to do so.

Click here for the British Chiropractic Association's Website