About Musculoskeletal Pain Medicine

Musculoskeletal pain medicine is defined by the types of patients that seek and benefit from its services. These are patients with pain problems that are not embraced by classical pathological rubrics, such as rheumatoid arthritis.

The specialty is defined more by the nature of services required by the patient and provided by Fellows in Musculoskeletal Medicine. These include:

  • The aptitude to deal with patients with distressing and difficult conditions and circumstances
  • Regularly providing prolonged consultations and follow-up
  • In addition to assessment, providing explanation, assurance and support during what can be prolonged periods of recovery

Musculoskeletal pain medicine provides care for particular types of patients who are not treated by other disciplines.

Practice Guidelines

Practices espoused and provided by the Faculty are defined in practice guidelines and “white papers”. Fellows of the Faculty have also contributed to other guidelines which include the Australian Guidelines for the Management of Acute Musculoskeletal Pain, and the Practice Protocols and Guidelines of the International Spinal Injection Society.

Musculoskeletal pain medicine does not deal with major trauma, fractures, and wounds, or their management by surgery. That is the province of orthopaedic surgery. Musculoskeletal pain medicine deals with symptoms that result from (or persist after) trauma which have not been (or cannot be) resolved by conventional surgical management.

Musculoskeletal pain medicine doesn’t deal with specific inflammatory arthropathies or connective tissues diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis. They are managed by Rheumatologists.

Specialists in Musculoskeletal Pain Medicine

Specialist practitioners in musculoskeletal pain medicine are trained and assessed in the basic sciences of pain and musculoskeletal disorders and in the investigation and management of these disorders. They are particularly trained and assessed in critical reasoning and biostatistics so that they can apply these to the evaluation of existing and emerging practices and be able to formulate, explain, and defend, plans of management that are based on the best available evidence.

Notwithstanding this academic base, the defining hallmark of specialists in musculoskeletal pain medicine are aptitude and commitment to a particular mode of practice. The contemporary evidence indicates that successful practitioners need to devote time to patients, both to understand and to explain the nature of their problem, and to provide ongoing support and encouragement, while iterating systematically through evidence-based algorithms of management.

In addition, specialists in musculoskeletal pain medicine are trained and experienced in activating patients and having them take responsibility for their own rehabilitation. They are trained in particular interventions, such as manual therapy and invasive tests and treatments.
Beyond providing care for their patients, Fellows in Musculoskeletal Medicine are required to contribute actively to the specialty by providing teaching and training to General Practitioners and to trainee Fellows; by conducting quality assurance audits of their own practices; by contributing to guidelines and position statements on best practice in the discipline; and as much as possible, to contribute to research in the field.

Visit our Member Directory to find a specialist near you.

Relationship between NZAMM and the AFMM

1. The AFMM Training Programme is convened by the AFMM under the supervision AFMM Censor in Chief.

2. NZAMM is the body recognised by the Medical Council of New Zealand (MCNZ) as the Vocational Education Advisory Body to manage the vocational branch of medicine “Musculoskeletal Medicine”. This is gazetted with the NZ Government.

3. The CAMM (Certificate of Attainment in Musculoskeletal Medicine) is the qualification recognised by MCNZ to practice in the scope of practice of Musculoskeletal Medicine in New Zealand.

4. Upon successful completion of the AFMM Training Programme, a Fellowship of AFMM is awarded

5. The AFMM will then recommend to the NZAMM the awarding of the CAMM.

6. The CAMM is awarded by NZAMM on gaining a Fellowship of AFMM, and having a current Annual Practicing Certificate issued by MCNZ.

7. NZAMM and AFMM have a Memorandum of Understanding to confirm that AFMM will coordinate the Training Programme on behalf of the NZAMM.

8. ‘The Training Committee’, which consists of members of both the NZAMM and AFMM Executive will meet monthly to co-ordinate and monitor the AFMM Training Programme.

Office Holders

AFMM Past Presidents
Elected to office at the Annual General Meeting of the AFMM October 2015, Melbourne, Australia:

  • President: Dr Mark Johnston (Orewa, NZ)
  • President Elect: Dr David Roselt (Bundaberg, QLD)
  • Immediate past president:Dr Steven Jensen (Newport, VIC)
  • Secretary: Dr Charles Ng (Auckland, NZ)
  • Censor In Chief:Dr Grant Thompson (Whangarei, NZ)
  • Director of Training:Dr Lucy Holtzhausen (Auckland, NZ)
  • Treasurer: Dr Lucy Holtzhausen (Auckland, NZ)
  • Administrator: Sarah Gilbert (Auckland, NZ)
  • Exec members (Australia):Drs Scott Masters (Caloundra,QLD), Dr Geoff Harding (Aspley, Queensland)
  • Exec members (New Zealand): Drs Mark McLaughlin (Christchurch, NZ), Dr Gary Collinson (Auckland, NZ), Dr John Malloy (Auckland, NZ)

Current Council:

  • President: Dr Mark Johnston (Orewa, NZ)
  • Censor In Chief:Dr Grant Thompson (Whangarei, NZ)
  • President Elect: Dr David Roselt (Bundaberg, QLD)
  • Secretary: Dr Dr Charles Ng (Auckland, NZ)
  • Treasurer – NZ: Dr Lucy Holtzhausen (Auckland, NZ)
  • Exec members (New Zealand): Drs Mark McLaughlin (Christchurch, NZ), Dr Gary Collinson (Auckland, NZ), Dr John Malloy (Auckland, NZ)
  • Exec members (Australia):Drs Scott Masters (Caloundra,QLD), Dr Geoff Harding (Aspley, Queensland)