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Who's got your Back?

Who's got your Back?

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By Dr Irwin Lim, Rheumatologist

photo 1I was given my campaign T-shirt today and I'm excited to show it off.

Rheumatologists around NSW have been informed that this public awareness campaign is about to kick off.

GPs around NSW are about to receive a range of materials to help them be more aware of this disease. This includes

  • Posters to place in their clinics featuring the Back Pain Maze image
  • A postcard mailer to make them aware of the campaign
  • An insert will appear in a national GP newsletter
  • An Ankylosing Spondylitis fact sheet

These activities have been coordinated and sponsored by Abbvie, and I hope it will serve as a good example of where a pharmaceutical company can help promote disease awareness.

photo 2The plan is to drive patients with chronic back pain to a website (www.dontturnyourbackonit.com.au) where they answer a few questions, which form a screening test, to see if they may have INFLAMMATORY back pain. I'll write more on the website soon.

Hopefully, the media will be engaged in some way. We can only hope. Arthritis and rheumatic diseases in general are unfortunately rarely in the spotlight. They are not "sexy" diseases. They tend not to tug at the heartstrings like a cancer campaign.

The campaign launches at a local shopping mall with high foot traffic on Saturday. The Back Cave will act as a focal point. It's a travelling health education service consisting of a vintage Airstream caravan, lots of signage, comfy furniture, refreshments, iPad kiosks to access the website, magazines, flyers, a skeleton or two, and friendly health professionals to talk to passer-bys who may venture into the "cave".

You're all welcome to check it out, at Warringah mall in Brookvale this weekend - Location: The Palm Tree Car Park, near Woolworths. I'll be there from 10 am to 2pm so say hi.

Dr Irwin Lim is a rheumatologist and a director of BJC Health. You should follow him on twitter here.
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