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    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.

    About this paper

    Paper title Regional Disorders - Spine
    Subject Musculoskeletal Medicine
    EFTS 0.125
    Points 15 points
    Teaching period Semester 1 (Distance learning)
    Domestic Tuition Fees ( NZD ) $1,578.88
    International Tuition Fees Tuition Fees for international students are elsewhere on this website.
    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 21 279 1423

    Teaching staff

    Convenor: Dr Jonathan Kuttner 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.


    Semester 1

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