About Musculoskeletal Medicine

Specialists in Musculoskeletal Medicine ( also known as Musculoskeletal Physicians) treat pain, and problems with the musculoskeletal system, not covered by other specialists (such as Rheumatologists and Orthopaedic Surgeons).

The specialty is partly defined by what the patient requires. These include:

  • Comprehensive musculoskeletal and pain assessment, including assessing biological, psychological and social contributions
  • Ability to deal with patients with distressing and difficult conditions and circumstances
  • Provision of prolonged consultations and follow-up
  • In addition to assessment, specialists provide explanation, assurance, rehabilitation planning and support during what can be a prolonged period of recovery

General Practitioners with a special interest in Musculoskeletal Medicine: Providing a specialist service and knowledge requires commitments that are difficult for General Practitioners to provide due to time demands and the specialised study required. However, a General Practitioner can provide an initial assessment and treatment service, order tests, offer advice on options, manage prescription of pain medication, coordinate care and provide important support during a period of rehabilitation.

Musculoskeletal Medicine provides care for certain types of patients who are not treated under any other discipline.

Knowledge Base

Knowledge and practice taught in the training programme are defined in practice guidelines and “white papers”. Musculoskeletal Specialists have also contributed to other guidelines which include: the Australian Guidelines for the Management of Acute Musculoskeletal Pain, and Practice Protocols and Guidelines of the International Spinal Intervention Society (SIS).

Musculoskeletal Medicine does not deal with major trauma, fractures, and wounds, or their management by surgery. That is related to orthopaedic surgery. Musculoskeletal Medicine deals with symptoms that result from (or persist after) trauma which haven’t been (or can’t be) resolved by conventional methods.

Musculoskeletal Medicine doesn’t deal with specific inflammatory arthropathies or connective tissues diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis. Rheumatologists deal with this.

Specialists in Musculoskeletal Medicine ( Musculoskeletal Physicians)

Specialist practitioners in Musculoskeletal 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 evidence-based treatment skills such as critical reasoning and biostatistics.

A special skill required in Musculoskeletal Medicine is an aptitude and commitment to assessing and treating the whole person. Musculoskeletal pain problems don’t lend themselves to straightforward diagnosis and cure. Successful practitioners need to dedicate time to patients both to understand and to explain the nature of their problem, to provide ongoing support and encouragement, while approaching the problem with an up-to-date and organised approach.

Specialists in Musculoskeletal Medicine are trained and experienced in motivating and helping patients to get physically active and to encourage them to take responsibility for their own rehabilitation. They are trained in particular interventions such as manual therapy and special tests and treatments such as spinal injections. Specialists in Musculoskeletal Medicine have developed relationships with providers in other health disciplines and can advise when referral is required.

Beyond providing care for their patients, Specialists in Musculoskeletal Medicine contribute actively to their specialty by providing teaching and training to others, conducting quality assurance audits of their own practices; contributing to guidelines and position statements on best practice in the discipline and contributing to research in the field.

See our Member Directory to find a specialist near you.

New Zealand Association of Musculoskeletal Medicine (NZAMM) and the Australasian Faculty of Musculoskeletal Medicine (AFMM)

1. The Training Programme is convened by NZAMM under the supervision a Censor-in-Chief. The Australasian Faculty of Musculoskeletal Medicine has members on the Education and Training Committee and provides input into the content and quality of training, evidence-base and post-qualification skills training. A Board of Censors from both organisations is used to oversee the Fellowship examination and assessment process.

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. The CAMM is awarded by NZAMM on successful completion of the training programme, passing the final (Fellowship) exam, and having a current Annual Practicing Certificate issued by MCNZ.

5. NZAMM will notify the MCNZ of the CAMM award.

6. An ‘Education and Training Committee’ meets monthly to co-ordinate and monitor the Training Programme.

Office Holders

Elected to Office as Executive Members of NZAMM October 2018, Auckland, New Zealand:

  • President and Censor-in-Chief: Dr Mark Johnston, Orewa, NZ
  • Director of Training and President Elect: Dr Lucy Holtzhausen , Auckland, NZ
  • Treasurer: Dr Jenny Keightley , Christchurch, NZ
  • General Practitioner Representative: Dr John Gyenge , Wellington, NZ
  • Trainee Representative vacant
  • Executive members: Dr Gary Collinson , Auckland, NZ Dr Charles Ng, Auckland, NZ Dr David Roselt , Bundaberg, QLD

Elected to Council at the Annual General Meeting of the AFMM October 2018, Auckland, New Zealand:

  • President and Censor-in-Chief: 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)
  • Treasurer: Dr Lucy Holtzhausen (Auckland, NZ)
  • Exec member (Australia): Dr Geoff Harding (Aspley, Queensland)
  • Exec member (New Zealand): Dr Gary Collinson (Auckland, NZ)
  • Exec member ( New Zealand): Dr Jenny Keightley (Christchurch NZ)