Effects of a Back Pain Prevention Education Program on Knowledge of Proper Back Care Among Fifth Grade Elementary Students

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Heiser, Susan Leigh
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Middle Tennessee State University
Back pain is a common disorder that affects 50 - 80% of the population at some point in their lives (Cardon, De Clercq, & De Bourdeaudhuij, 2000). Of greater concern is the increasing rate of low back pain (LBP) in children that could potentially reoccur into adulthood (Jones et al., 2003). Back Pain Prevention (BPP) should begin proactively in the elementary schools where it could reach a large population, but few programs currently exist (Cardon et al., 2002). The purpose of this study was to determine if physical educators could improve BPP knowledge of fifth grade students by infusing back care principles into their regular curriculum. The participants were 135 students in three public elementary schools. The education group performed better on the written knowledge test and on the practical assessment as compared to the control group that did not experience the instructional treatment. There was no significant difference in the written knowledge scores between the three instructional groups, and there was no significant difference between the mean score gains of the three groups on the practical assessment. There was a positive but weak correlation between the education group's mean scores on the written knowledge test and on the practical assessment scores, r (98) = .307, p = .02. Overall, students in the education groups showed significant improvement in BPP knowledge and back care practice over the control group. Further research is needed to test student long-term retention of this information.
Back Pain Prevention, Elementary, Fifth Grade, Lifting, Low Back Pain, Physical Education