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In 2013, Taube Zeifman started experiencing mild back pain. She didn't think it was too serious – maybe a herniated disc. But it was uncomfortable enough that she went to her doctor.
Not much was done during the visit, other than a referral to a physiotherapist, who gave her several exercises to do. But over the next six months, the pain got worse.
"There was pain down my leg. I couldn't stand, and I could only walk slowly," she says.
Taube figured it would take a year to see a back specialist and even longer to get an MRI (magnetic resonance imaging) scan, but her physiotherapist said that she'd only have to wait a few weeks.
She was right. Two weeks later, Taube met with Dr. Andrew Bidos (chiropractor) in Dr. Raja Rampersaud's interprofessional spine clinic at Toronto Western Hospital, who determined that an MRI was indeed necessary in her case. Unfortunately, Taube's diagnosis was more than a herniated disc: arthritis, spinal stenosis and spondylolisthesis – all painful back ailments.
Fortunately, Taube was able to see a back specialist quickly and get more information about her ailments. But how was she able to get her appointment so fast when others have to wait months?
Her physiotherapist is part of a new program called the Inter-professional Spine Assessment and Education Clinics (ISAEC). Launched in 2013 by Dr. Rampersaud, a Krembil clinician investigator and orthopaedic surgeon at Toronto Western Hospital, ISAEC is an innovative shared-care model that gives patients and other non-specialist medical professionals a better understanding of what they're dealing with.
As part of the shared-care commitment between family doctors, physiotherapists, chiropractors and spine specialists, it also gets patients in to see specialists faster than they would otherwise if deemed necessary.
The Krembil Research Institute and the Globe and Mail have teamed up for a special project designed to highlight the tremendous achievements of the science and research programs at Krembil. The first of three magazines in this series looks at the brain and spine program, a second highlights the vision program and a final edition, which is also now available on line, explores the arthritis program.