The first questions to answer is – what is MSK?
MSK stands for Musculoskeletal, which means the muscles and skeleton of your body. It also includes tendons, ligaments, joints, the nervous system and some circulation systems.
When you see your GP with back or neck pain – or shoulder, elbow, wrist and hand, hip, knee, ankle and foot problems – you will most likely be suffering with a musculoskeletal condition.
If you have a GP in Bedfordshire, your treatment will be referred to the MSK Service in the county. This service started 3 years ago via the Bedfordshire Clinical Commissioning Group. A company called Circle Clinical Services Ltd won the contract to deliver the Bedfordshire MSK Service.
Your GP liaises with the Bedfordshire MSK Service to ensure that you receive the right treatment programme for your MSK condition.
For example, if you have low back pain and see your GP, three steps may be involved:
Step 1 – Your GP will firstly give advice and possibly medication and self-manage you for 6 weeks as per national guidelines.
Step 2 – After 6 weeks you may be referred to the Bedfordshire MSK service where information about your condition will have been sent by your GP. Your information will be triaged (assessed) by their Hub in Bedford. They aim to do this in 24 hours.
Step 3 – You will be contacted by a letter, which is also sent to your GP, informing you of their decision as to what treatment they are offering.
This may involve making an appointment for you with either:
- A physiotherapist.
- An Extended Scope Physiotherapist (ESP), or
- A GP with a special interest in musculoskeletal problems. (GPwSI) These GPs can request diagnostics e.g. ultrasounds, MRIs, and may be able to administer steroid injections and prescribe medications. They can give advanced treatments such as ultrasound-guided injections and request further tests.
- A hospital consultant (orthopaedics, rheumatology, chronic pain).
- A podiatrist
If you are invited to see a therapist, then you will be given the option as to where you would like to go within the community. They have various clinics and hospitals available. You will be advised by the clinic as to how they will make contact. There may be various waiting times from 2-4 weeks or perhaps longer.
If you are being offered an appointment within the hubs you will be sent a letter asking you to ring in and make an appointment, this allows you to make an appointment at a time and venue that suits you. You are given 2 weeks to respond to this letter, if you do not respond you will be discharged from the service and will need another referral from you GP. If, due to circumstances beyond your control, you have not been able to respond you can always ring the service and explain the issues.
So how can Shefford Osteopathic Clinic help you?
Firstly, we aim to offer you an appointment within 48 hours.
During your first session, we will take a full medical history and then carry out a physical examination. We will explain what we find and how this may be causing your symptoms. Then we suggest and agree a treatment plan with you. This will contain hands-on treatment as well as possible lifestyle, nutrition, exercise and postural advice.
We may need to write to your GP explaining our findings and asking for you to be referred onto the MSK pathway. This will happen if:
- Treatment is unsuccessful
- Your symptoms require additional intervention
- We believe you need further investigations
If you are already on this MSK pathway, we are still able to support and add to your care as we offer a different skill set to those contracted.
If you need any advice or have questions, please do not hesitate to get in touch by calling the Clinic on 01462 811006, or by e-mailing us using the contact form below.