A comparison of the knowledge of chronic pain and its management between final year physiotherapy and medical students

Ali, Nada and Thomson, Di (2009) A comparison of the knowledge of chronic pain and its management between final year physiotherapy and medical students. European Journal of Pain, 13(1), pp. 38-50. ISSN (print) 1090-3801

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Abstract

The scientific literature reveals a surprising lack of knowledge of chronic pain mechanisms and its management amongst health care professionals, including physicians and physiotherapists. There is little information directly related to a comparison between medical and physiotherapy students' knowledge of chronic pain. This study aimed to determine and compare the level of knowledge of chronic pain and its management between final year medical (n=126) and physiotherapy students (n=62). A chronic pain questionnaire which included two sections on knowledge and one section on management was used to gather quantitative and qualitative data. Final year physiotherapy students were found to have statistically greater knowledge of chronic pain than final year medical students (p=0.01 and p=0.002). In contrast, medical students were found to have statistically significantly greater understanding of the management of patients with chronic pain (p=0.001). Male students from both groups scored significantly higher in the management section (p=0.008) as did older students (p=0.01). There was a lack of understanding, in varying degrees, of central sensitization, opioid addition, fear-avoidance and a number of students from both cohorts appeared to bring a curative focus to the treatment of chronic pain. One way forward could be found in the interprofessional agenda. This will offer students from different disciplines opportunities to understand their different roles and enhance each others' learning base so that a biopsychosocial framework of care can be implemented. In this way, physiotherapists could learn more about the drug management of chronic pain and medical students could explore more collaborative patient-centred paradigms that address issues such as self-efficacy, self-management and patient empowerment. More focus needs to be paid to the education of the health professionals regarding their assumptions and understanding what 'vulnerable' means in a tissue in comparison to a person.

Item Type: Article
Research Area: Allied health professions and studies
Faculty, School or Research Centre: Faculty of Health and Social Care Sciences (until 2013)
Related URLs:
Depositing User: Gemma Sansom
Date Deposited: 01 Jul 2011 13:38
Last Modified: 01 Jul 2011 13:38
URI: http://eprints.kingston.ac.uk/id/eprint/19670

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