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MSME705 Regional Disorders - Spine

An evaluation of the structure, function, disorders, and diseases of the vertebral column and its associated tissues. Includes an overview of anatomy, biomechanics, pathology, clinical assessment and treatment options.

MSME 705 is one of two papers focusing on common musculoskeletal disorders. The paper includes an overview of anatomy, biomechanics, pathology, assessment approaches and treatment options for musculoskeletal problems originating in the spine and associated tissues. Back and neck pain continue to be the most commonly encountered pain problems in primary care, with low-back pain being the most frequently recorded problem for both the Accident Compensation Corporation (ACC) and those receiving health-related benefits. By developing an in-depth understanding of spine-related problems, clinicians will gain confidence to diagnose and manage these problems in primary care. This paper has a biomedical approach, and non-pharmacological approaches such as exercise or psychological treatments are not discussed.

Paper title Regional Disorders - Spine
Paper code MSME705
Subject Musculoskeletal Medicine
EFTS 0.125
Points 15 points
Teaching period Not offered in 2023, expected to be offered in 2024 (Distance learning)
Domestic Tuition Fees (NZD) $1,535.88
International Tuition Fees Tuition Fees for international students are elsewhere on this website.

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Limited to
MHealSc, PGCertHealSc, PGCertMSM, PGDipHealSc, PGDipMSM, PGDipPhty, MPhty
Appropriately qualified health professionals such as medical practitioners, physiotherapists, nurses, occupational therapists, osteopaths, chiropractors, etc.

Further information

Administrator Client Services
Department of Orthopaedic Surgery and Musculoskeletal Medicine
University of Otago, Christchurch
PO Box 4345, Christchurch, New Zealand
Tel +64 3 378 6161 

Teaching staff

Convenor: Dr Jason Chin, with assistance from spinal and radiological experts.

Paper Structure

MSME 705 consists of eight modules, taught sequentially, using both online resources and fortnightly teaching sessions.

Modules will cover the following topics:

  • Spine anatomy and biomechanics
  • Pain and spinal disorders
  • Clinical approach to the patient with spinal pain
  • Radiology of the spine
  • Surgical spinal pain
  • Interventional management of spinal disorders
  • Non-interventional management of spinal disorders
Teaching Arrangements
Material is delivered electronically and is distance taught. There are eight fortnightly online teaching sessions.

A useful reference text is:

Clinical Anatomy of the Lumbar Spine and Sacrum by Nikolai Bogduk.

Another useful reference text for those in clinical practice is:

Netter's Concise Orthopaedic Anatomy 2nd Edition by Jon C Thompson 

These books are available from both The Book Depository and Amazon.

Graduate Attributes Emphasised
Critical thinking, Information literacy.
View more information about Otago's graduate attributes.
Learning Outcomes
Students who successfully complete the paper will have a detailed knowledge of the common medical and surgical conditions affecting the spine. Students will be able to incorporate this knowledge into their health practice and be able to diagnose and refer patients on for further appropriate therapy.

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Not offered in 2023, expected to be offered in 2024

Teaching method
This paper is taught through Distance Learning
Learning management system