Ontario Expanding Care for Low Back Pain Patients
New Sites to Reduce Wait Times and Provide Better Care Closer to Home
Ontario is improving access and availability of health care services for more Ontarians who suffer from low back pain.
As part of the expansion of Ontario's Low Back Pain Strategy, the province is launching a pilot project which builds on efforts to provide better access to appropriate, cost-effective, patient-centred care.
Ontario is providing $2.3 million over two years to help primary care organizations deliver timely, appropriate, high-quality low back pain services. The following organizations will be participating in the pilot:
- Essex County Nurse Practitioner-Led Clinic in Essex in partnership with City Centre Health Care in Windsor
- A partnership between Family Health Teams in Mount Forest, East Wellington and Minto-Mapleton
- Couchiching Family Health Team in Orillia
- TAIBU Community Health Centre in Scarborough
- Shkagamik-Kwe Aboriginal Health Access Centre in Sudbury
- Belleville Nurse Practitioner-Led Clinic
- Centre de santé communautaire de l'Estrie
These organizations will be able to provide additional hours for a range of allied health providers such as chiropractors, physiotherapists, occupational therapists, kinesiologists and registered massage therapists to:
- Provide faster, more accurate assessment of low back pain problems
- Use a more holistic approach to treating patients suffering from low back pain
- Educate patients on low back pain self-management techniques
- Refer patients to an appropriate health care provider as needed
Expanding low back pain services supports Ontario's Action Plan for Health Care and is part of the government's four-part economic plan to build Ontario up by investing in people's talents and skills, building new public infrastructure like roads and transit, creating a dynamic, supportive environment where business thrives, and building a secure savings plan so everyone can afford to retire.
- Since April 2012, Ontario has invested more than $4 million to improve the quality and availability of low back pain supports across the province.
- Acute low back pain is a common health problem affecting more than half of all Ontarians over the course of their lifetime. For most people, getting an imaging test such as x-ray, CT scan or MRI will not help assess or treat low back pain.
- About 90 per cent of back pain is benign – that is, not caused by a serious underlying injury or disease.
- Since the launch of the strategy in 2012, there has been an 18.5 per cent decrease in the number of patients being sent for unnecessary x-rays, CT scans or MRIs – resulting in savings of approximately $15 million.
“Improving the quality and delivery of treatment for low back pain can make a life-changing difference to thousands of people in the province. Expanding the availability of low back pain supports means that more Ontarians will get the right care, at the right time, in the right place.”
Dr. Eric Hoskins