Pain and Spinal Pain Pathway

MSK conditions are a group of conditions that affect the bones, joints, muscles and spine, and are a common cause of severe long term pain and physical disability. The HI NENC Musculoskeletal Health Programme was established to address regional priorities in addition to contributing to the national agenda for Musculoskeletal health care improvement.

The intended aim of this project is to understand the challenges to the equitable provision of an integrated spinal and chronic pain pathway across the North East and North Cumbria area to support the reduction of polypharmacy.

Currently, the focus of the regional priority is chronic pain which includes back pain. There is also an urgent need to reduce the rate of opioids and gabapentanoiods prescribed in NENC, and this must be done in a way that is sustainable, and which addresses the underlying direct and indirect drivers of this behaviour. HI NENC are requesting the ICS and PHE acknowledges this need as a top public health and patient safety priority.

This issue of opioid prescribing is being addressed by work across the region to reduce opioid prescriptions to support the reduction of opioid prescriptions. However, for the progress to be sustained, it will need ongoing support of services in the community.

MSK health is one of the first lines of defence to maintain cardiovascular and mental health, allowing people to stay active, connected, resilient, financially secure to allow the maintenance of purpose and meaning in their lives. Pain and its management is a big inhibitor to physical activity.


HI NENC have created a NHS Futures Platform to support the work of the pain and spinal pathway community of practise. If you would like to be invited to the platform, please contact [email protected] or request an invitation via Pain and Spinal Pathway Community of Practice North East and North Cumbria (NENC) – FutureNHS Collaboration Platform