MSK Pain is it a ‘super wicked’ problem?
Despite the advances in health care, technology and science back pain is a massive problem which is badly managed.
Despite the advances in health care, technology and science back pain is a massive problem which is badly managed. It’s the same for other musculoskeletal (MSK) issues – neck, shoulder, knee and more.
That is a massive statement and it makes sense to me that the care of MSK pain has been described as a ‘super wicked’ problem . That is a problem that is very difficult to understand and difficult to formulate a solution to solve the problem.
Climate change is often described as a ‘super wicked’ problem. It is argued that traditional analytical techniques are ill equipped to identify solutions to the problem.
So back to MSK to back pain...
Elements of care that may be contributing to this ‘super wicked’ problem include:
- a focus on diagnostic imaging for non-specific MSK pain – searching for the ‘cause’
- invasive procedures which can be higher risk, more expensive care
- an expectation for a structural diagnosis which will lead to a fix (a label)
- barriers to change from stakeholders for example insurers dictating pricing
- low value care, for example a reliance on passive treatments.
Are we using traditional analytical techniques to identify solutions to the problem?
So what’s next…
We need to move away from a ‘we can fix and cure you’  model to a personalised holistic approach which empowers people to improve their health.
 Lewis J et al 2021 Reframing how we care for people with persistent non-traumatic musculoskeletal pain. Suggestions for the rehabilitation community. Physiotherapy, Volume 112, 143 - 149
 Levin K et al 2012 Overcoming the tragedy of super wicked problems: constraining our future selves to ameliorate global climate change. Policy Sci 45, 123–152
With Knowledge, Skills & Tools
This is just what we do on The Healthy Movement Programme. We move away from pain, towards an active life by finding healthy movement and connecting the mind and body.
Using science backed strategies. It’s tried and tested.
A personalised holistic approach. Empowerment. Health.