Background

This pilot project has been created by a collaboration between NHS Education for Scotland (NES), Ayrshire and Arran Health Board and Core Lab Plus.

Our aim is to develop an educational tool on lower back pain for General Practitioners, initially in the West of Scotland, with a view to having national transferability.

Back pain is a common and important clinical problem.  Four out of five people will experience back pain in their lives1.  The vast majority will be mechanical in nature and will resolve without any consequences. 

However, a significant proportion of people will be troubled with persistent problems such as chronic pain, resulting in extended periods away from work2.  This places a great strain on the National Health Service, in terms of consuming health care professionals’ time and heavy financial implications.

In this web-based project we present a practical, informative and enjoyable educational tool for General Practitioners to use to re-familiarise themselves with common back complaints.

It provides information on less common but important conditions that should be considered in any patient that presents with back pain for the first time.

We have extensively used 3D visualisation and novel interactive elements to maximise the learner’s experience.  These educational methods are proven to shorten the learning curve and enhance knowledge retention3.

We hope you enjoy using our website and that it will contribute to your clinical knowledge and patient care.

References:

  • Van Tulder M, Koes B and Bombardier C. 2002. Low back pain. Best Pract Res Clin Rheumatol, 16(5), 761-775.
  • Waddell G. 2004. The back pain revolution. 2nd ed.  London: Churchill Livingstone.
  • McCloy R, Stone R.  Science, medicine, and the future.  Virtual reality in surgery.  BMJ. 2001;323:912-915.