Learning for life: Back pain

Life Long Learning and Continuing Professional Development (CPD) are the
processes by which professionals, such as nurses, develop and improve their

There are many ways to address CPD: formally, through attending courses,
study days and workshops; or informally, through private study and reflection.
Reading articles in professional journals is a good way of keeping up-to-date
with what is going on in the field of practice, but reflecting and identifying
what you have learnt is not always easy. These questions are designed to help
you to identify what you have learnt from studying the article. They will also
help you to clarify what you can apply to practice, what you did not understand
and what you need to explore further.

1. Who are more resistant to change?

a) Patients
b) Healthcare professionals
c) OH nurses
d) Employers

2. On which model does the ‘injury model of back pain’ concentrate?

a) The disease model of medicine
b) A quality assurance model
c) A nursing model
d) A health promotion model

3. Preventing disability and chronicity developing are goals of which
level of prevention?

a) Primordial
b) Tertiary
c) Primary
d) Secondary

4. What percentage of people are affected by back pain at some time in
their lives?

a) 40 per cent
b) 58 per cent
c) 90 per cent
d) 48 per cent

5. What are the three functions of a medical interview?

a) Examine patient, collect data, negotiate management
b) Establish rapport, collect data, negotiate management
c) Establish rapport, examine patient, negotiate management
d) Establish rapport, examine patient, collect data

6. At the tertiary prevention stage treatment should facilitate

a) Active rehabilitation
b) How the patient feels
c) The patient’s beliefs
d) Temporary restrictions

7. Occupational health professionals are in an ideal position to provide

a) Counselling
b) Functional restoration programmes
c) Redevelopment programmes
d) Support and encouragement

8. Which is NOT an attitude or belief about back pain?

a) Pain is always harmful
b) Pain is uncontrollable
c) Pain is a normal phenomenon
d) Passivity

9. Which of the following is NOT medical labelling?

a) Crushed discs
b) Muscle spasm
c) Trapped nerve
d) Arthritis of the spine

10. According to the case study which sport was Alison advised to give

a) Swimming
b) Jogging
c) Aerobics
d) Walking


1.b) Yes – ourselves. The professionals are most resistant to change.
Carry out a literature search and update your knowledge of back pain, then
consider if what you have read concurs with what you believe. Are you believing
from an ‘evidence base’ or ‘experience’? 2.a). 3.d) Review your
knowledge of the four levels of prevention and discuss with your colleagues the
role of OH in each level. This article deals with the secondary level of
prevention. Consider whether you have a role in secondary prevention. 4.c)
For more facts and figures on back pain go to the BackCare website for their
fact sheet, www.backcare.org. 5.b) The question asked specifically about
‘medical interviews’ and so they are interviews between a doctor and his/her
patient. Consider the different types of interviews you undertake in your role
and whether these functions apply to you role – or are different. Write a list
of what you think are the three main functions. 6.a). 7.d) 8.c). 9.b)
Questions 8 and 9 may have been difficult to decide. It may be worth discussing
with colleagues what are meant by attitudes and beliefs about back pain and
what is meant by medical labelling. Then consider how we deal with these
aspects of our practice.10.a) Swimming is probably the least damaging
exercise along with walking. Certainly exercise has a relaxing effect and helps
to relieve stress and tensions. Take some time to explore this in more detail.

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