Last updated:20th April 2016

Raising Healthcare Professional Awareness

Awareness of AS in the UK is low.

There is an average delay of 8.5 years from the onset of symptoms to receiving a diagnosis. This leads to a delay in getting the right treatment.

NASS is addressing this problem by working with GPs and other health professionals to recognise the symptoms of inflammatory back pain and ensure appropriate pathways for treatment are in place.

Back Pain Plus

Back Pain Plus is an awareness campaign aimed at ophthalmologists, dermatologists and gastroenterologists, aiming to help reduce the current 8.5 year delay in diagnosis for people with axial spondyloarthritis including ankylosing spondylitis (AS).

  • 26% of people with AS have acute anterior uveitis & 40% of people with acute anterior uveitis have spondyloarthritis
  • 9% of people with AS have psoriasis
  • 7% of people with AS have inflammatory bowel disease

Back Pain Seminars

Back Pain Seminar

The Back Pain Seminar is aimed at GPs, physiotherapists, osteopaths and chiropractors who see people with back pain. The seminars inform delegates how to distinguish inflammatory back pain (such as AS) from mechanical back pain and other types of back pain. So far the Back Pain Seminar has been delivered in:

Bath 2014 (59 delegates)

Lincoln 2014 (56 delegates)

Reading 2014 (85 delegates)

London 2014 (104 delegates)

London 2013 (203 delegates)

Cardiff 2013 (48 delegates)

Manchester 2013 (73 delegates)

Leicester 2013 (117 delegates)

Norwich 2012 (53 delegates)

Birmingham 2012 (81 delegates)

A further 300 delegates have been educated at smaller, satellite meetings around the UK. That makes a total of more than 1,000 GPs, physiotherapists, osteopaths and chiropractors who have been educated and gone back to their practice to pass on their knowledge to the rest of their team.

Meeting in a Box

The NASS Back Pain Seminar Initiative was launched as a Meeting-in-a-Box at the British Society of Rheumatology (BSR) Conference in Birmingham in April 2013.

All the materials for the Back Pain Seminar are included on a CD-Rom. These can then used or adapted by rheumatologists from around the UK to run the seminar in their local area. We are delighted that so far we have given away over 200 copies of the CD-ROM to rheumatologists from all over the UK and it has even gone international.

Other initiatives

AS included as a 'hot topic' and exhibition stands on the popular NB Medical update course for GPs, attended by over 10,000 GPs all around the UK in 2012 and 2013. 

Information poster at the annual conference of the Royal College of Opthamologists.

Exhibition stands at the British Society for Rheumatology Conference,  Primary Care Conference, Physiotherapy UK Royal College of GPs conference and Primary Care Rheumatology Society conference

Speakers and exhibition stands at the annual conferences of both the British Chiropractic Association and the British Osteopathic Association.

Information poster at the annual conference of the Royal College of Opthamologists.

Exhibition stand and a speaking slot at an AS awareness day at Rylands Farm in Dorset in June 2013.

AS awareness day at the LMBRU in Leeds attended by the local MP, Fabian Hamilton, as well as Professor Mark Baker from NICE.  

Article in Frontline magazine on debate on AS in the House of Commons

Article in GP magazine on the NASS recommendations for best practice in the care of people with AS




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