2008 grant recipient
Brigitte Tampin obtained her Physiotherapy undergraduate training in Germany and her postgraduate training (Grad.Dip.Manip.Ther, MSc, PhD) at Curtin University in Western Australia (WA). She has an extensive background in clinical musculoskeletal physiotherapy and has held clinical positions in private practice and public hospitals in WA for over 20 years. Currently she works as an Advanced Scope Physiotherapist at the Neurosurgery Spinal Clinic, Sir Charles Gairdner Hospital, Perth.
Brigitte has an established clinical and research background in the assessment and treatment of neuro-musculoskeletal pain disorders and neuropathic pain. She received an NHMRC Postgraduate Scholarship, a PRF seeding grant and a Grant-in-Aid from Arthritis Australia to support her PhD, titled ‘Clinical and somatosensory characteristics of patients with nerve-related neck-arm pain.’ Her work was acknowledged with publication of five manuscripts in highly-ranked medical journals.
Research areas and findings
Brigitte’s PRF funded PhD study investigated (i) the inter-examiner agreement in classifying patients with cervical radiculopathy and patients with non-specific neck-arm pain, using specific classification systems, and (ii) the diagnostic accuracy of these clinical examiners, using the opinion and consensus of two experts as a reference criterion.
The results demonstrated high percentage agreement between examiners in classifying both patient groups, supporting the reliability of the classification systems used. Compared to expert opinion, the examiners were able to accurately classify 80 per cent of cases with these specific clinical neck-arm pain presentations.
This is important considering the expanding role physiotherapists have in extended scope of practice, such as triaging patients in emergency departments or neurosurgery clinics, high diagnostic accuracy and the risk-benefit implications of making wrong decisions. Particularly, this shows great significance for patients where alternative medical management is vital to managing their condition effectively such as in patients with significant nerve root compromise or with dominantly neuropathic pain features.
Research impact on physiotherapy
After PhD completion in 2012, Brigitte continued her clinical research career with a focus on the assessment of neuropathic pain in patients with spinal pain. Her current projects investigate (i) the assessment of neuropathic pain and altered sensory nerve function in patients with lumbar radicular pain, using the method of quantitative sensory testing (QST) and (ii) if QST parameters can predict clinical outcome after lumbar discectomy. She has been awarded the 2014 Clinician Research Fellowship by the Department of Health, Western Australia and the Raine Medical Research Foundation and the 2015 Arthritis Australia, Grant-in-Aid: The Eventide Homes Grant.
Brigitte has established strong research collaboration nationally and internationally (Switzerland, UK, Germany). She is a member of the scientific board of the German Physiotherapy Journal Physioscience and has been an invited reviewer for numerous highly ranked medical journals. Brigitte holds an Adjunct Research Fellow position at Curtin University and has recently accepted a part time Professorship in Physiotherapy at Hochschule Osnabrück, University of Applied Science, Germany.
Important areas for development in physiotherapy
Brigitte is passionate about translating her knowledge and skills into an improved health service for patients with neuropathic pain of spinal origin. She is working towards establishing a QST laboratory at Sir Charles Gairdner Hospital to assist in the assessment and management of neuropathic pain disorders.
Tampin, B., Lind, C., Slater, H. Study protocol: The role of sensory parameters in predicting clinical outcome after lumbar discectomy. Physioscience 2016; 12, 30-34.
Tampin, B., Slater, H., Briffa, K. Identification of neuropathic pain in cervical radiculopathy - Application of quantitative sensory testing and a screening tool. Pain Practice 2014:14, Supplement 1, page 68.
Tampin. B. Neuropathischer Schmerz (Neuropathic pain) (Invited Review). Physioscience 2014; 10:1-8
Tampin, B., Briffa, K.,Goucke, R., Slater, H. Identification of neuropathic pain in patients with neck/upper limb pain: application of a grading system and screening tools. Pain 2013, 154, 2813-2822.
Tampin, B., Slater, H., Briffa, K. Neuropathic pain components are common in patients with painful cervical radiculopathy, but not in patients with non-specific neck-arm pain. Clinical Journal of Pain, 2013, 20(10), 846-856.
Tampin, B., Briffa, K., Slater, H. Self-reported sensory descriptors are associated with quantitative sensory testing parameters in patients with cervical radiculopathy, but not in patients with fibromyalgia. European Journal of Pain 2013, 17 (4), 621-633.
Tampin, B., Briffa, K., Hall, T., Lee, G., Slater, H. Inter-therapist agreement in classifying patients with cervical radiculopathy and patients with non-specific neck-arm pain. Manual Therapy, 2012, 17 (5), 445-450.
Tampin, B.,Slater, H., Hall, T., Lee, G., Briffa, K. Quantitative sensory testing somatosensory profiles in patients with cervical radiculopathy are distinct from those in patients with non-specific neck-arm pain. Pain 2012, 153 (12), 2403-2414.