Population Study Reveals Bone and Joint Problems

By Petrina Smith
Monday, 09 February, 2015

The University of Adelaide has conducted one of the largest population health studies in rural Australia, highlighting an issue with bone and joint problems.
The Linkin Health Census of more than 8000 Port Lincoln residents in 2010 was undertaken to garner the health needs of local people, how they use services and how services can  be delivered to improve patient outcomes.
"We found that more than 40 per cent of the population, across all ages, were experiencing bone and joint problems," says one of the lead investigators of the study, Professor Jonathan Newbury from the University's School of Population Health.
"Typical problems included osteoarthritis and lower back pain. Many people had not sought treatment, or understood how to properly self-manage these conditions, such as through exercise and weight loss.
"Without the health census we would not have known the extent of the problem," Professor Newbury says.
The research led to 8- people being reffered to a GP and attending special exercise and  physiotherapy sessions to help overcome or alleviate their bone and joint problems.

"With the bone and joint project, this was a very clear example of how we uncovered unmet health needs and responded directly to them," Professor Newbury says.  "People who suffer bone and joint problems are also highly likely to be experiencing one or more other major health conditions. So by raising awareness of these issues and referring people to their GP, we were also able to improve the diagnosis of other problems," he says.
Professor Newbury says: "Our findings can be used to guide health policies for bone and joint health in the future, with many residents of the Port Lincoln area standing to benefit from this for years to come."

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