The Back pain Assessment Clinic (BAC) Service is a specialist service for the assessment of spinal disorders such as back pain, neck pain and sciatica. The service can also assistance in ongoing management.

This clinic helps to give you faster access to expert assessment and management of your back and / or neck pain.

What will happen at the clinic?

You will be asked about:

  • your problem
  • your general health including any past medical problems and surgeries
  • previous investigations and treatments (including pain relief medications) that you have tried
  • your current medications

After talking about your problem, you will then be examined. This will involve undressing parts of your body in order to look at and feel your back, and also to test the strength and sensation in your arms and legs. Please wear suitable, loose-fitting clothing to your appointment.

The clinician will then discuss your problem and a management plan to help you, which may include:

  • doing more tests
  • trying other treatments
  • referral to another specialist clinic

Who will I see?

The clinic is staffed by a Rheumatologist and Advanced Practice Physiotherapists, the same professionals that you may see in the Neurosurgery, Orthopaedic or Rheumatology clinics at Royal Melbourne Hospital. All of these staff members have extensive experience in the assessment and treatment of back and neck problems.

But I have already seen a physiotherapist

The physiotherapists working in the BAC are very senior clinicians within their field and have extensive experience in assessing and treating spinal problems and are reviewing you in that capacity, rather than performing ‘routine’ physiotherapy treatment. The physiotherapists in the BAC currently work together with the spinal surgeons in the Neurosurgery and Orthopaedic Spinal Clinics at Royal Melbourne Hospital and have been through additional training and assessment to ensure a high level of competency in their role. Research in the UK has shown that these types of physiotherapists are as effective as doctors in assessing spinal problems.

Who is eligible?

People with back and / or neck pain who live in the area serviced by CoHealth Services and Merri Health.

How to access this service

You need a referral from your GP or medical practitioner to access this service.

What to bring

Every time you come to hospital

Every time you come to hospital for a test, day procedure, surgery or treatment, you should bring:

  • Medicare card
  • Health Care card (if you have one)
  • Concession card (if you have one)
  • Adverse drug alert card (if you have one)
  • Medications you are currently taking, including any that you have bought without a prescription
  • X-ray films, scans, ultrasounds or any other test results you have which are related to your procedure
For a clinic appointment

If you come for a clinic appointment, you should also bring:

  • Brief Pain Inventory form - download below if you haven't had one mailed to you
  • Back Pain or Neck Pain Assessment Form - download below if you haven't had one mailed to you
  • Images of any spinal investigations on a CD, a report alone is not sufficient. You can get this from the centre where the spinal investigation was done

  • Your letter

Downloads

Brief Pain Inventory form
Bring this completed questionnaire to your first appointment about your brief pain (PDF,229.66 KB)
Back pain assessment form (Oswestry Disability Index)
Bring this completed questionnaire to your first appointment about your back pain (PDF,160.22 KB)
Neck pain assessment form (Neck Disability Index)
Bring this completed questionnaire to your first appointment about your neck pain (PDF,145.61 KB)
Contact us if you need an accessible version of a download.

In a medical emergency, call 000. If you are feeling unwell, see your local GP or go to your local hospital Emergency department for help.