Chronic pain

Referral and follow-up of osteoarthritis-associated chronic pain

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Educational Objective: To provide insight into: 1) When to prescribe additional diagnostic tests to diagnose OA, 2) The tests that can be used for differential diagnosis in specific situations, and 3) When to refer for surgery for OA-associated chronic pain
Specialty: General Practice, Family Medicine
Target Audience: CME (intermediate, advanced), Residents (senior)
Latest update: February 2022

Osteoarthritis (OA) and chronic pain afflict a large section of patients worldwide. While referral to specialists is key in managing and addressing this health problem, the role of general practitioners (GPs) encompasses other essential steps including diagnosis, patient education, core management, pharmacological strategy definition, and follow-up of OA patients. Guidelines indicate the ideal clinical algorithm, but real-life patients often present with more complex profiles. Translating the available guidelines into appropriate decision making in daily clinical practice is therefore crucial.

EURACT and WONCA Europe, together with the medical education society ISSECAM and a multidisciplinary specialist panel covering rheumatology, anaesthesiology, and orthopaedic surgery, have developed this case-based CME programme to allow efficient learning on OA-associated chronic pain management in family medicine.

This topic presents a series of 7 cases addressing referral and follow-up of patients affected by OA-associated chronic pain. Progressive symptoms and atypical patient profiles may require referral and alternative treatment approaches to tackle OA-associated chronic pain.