Week 3- Conclusions and Planning.

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Today marks the end of my third week of my clinical research experience.

This week I have continued my work with analysing the ultrasound scans of the thoracolumbar fascia- over halve way through now, getting there!
I have found that I have had to take regular breaks whilst analysing the ultrasound scans- this is because I want to keep the consistency of detailed analysis for each and every scan, it will all be worth it in the end. This categorization will be used to select material for our planned focus group later this month. In order to gain a range of different opinions on the categorization of the scans, we are going to hold a focus group with different experts in reading ultrasound scans. This is to see if a general consensus can be reached regarding the organisation. It will also provide us with a solid base moving forwards to correlate the organisation with pain. I am really looking forwards to attending these focus groups, and seeing if any of the opinions agree with my own!

With regards to the theoretical models work I mentioned last week, significant progress has been made in that area of research. We have found that a whole new category involving genetics needed to be added, along with collapsing the spinal control category into movement/treatment based model. These new developments showed me that in research thoughts and ideas are constantly changing with new knowledge that has been gained. In the latter part of the week me and Kyra sat down to discuss the results of this task. We wanted to start to discuss if the current theoretical models are outdated, and where her PhD study would fit into the models…or indeed if we have to suggest new sub categories.

In order for analysis of the Theoretical models to begin, I had to count up the total number of studies put under each model and calculate percentages. (That took me back to my maths class days!)

Interestingly the results of this task are different to the ones expected- the Neurophysiological model contained the lowest amount of studies…whereas the Movement/Treatment based model contained the most studies by far. It will be interesting to see what conclusion Kyra reaches using her in-depth knowledge and expertise when analysing the results further.

As well as providing Kyra with new data for her research, this task also helped me to recognize the vast variety of treatments and approaches to diagnosing/reducing lower back pain. The difference in opinions of some research also intrigued me- one study suggested that the most common cause of back pain was the Intervertebral Disks, however another study totally disagreed with this. This made me think that this is still an area which is very much in debate still, even after all the research done- It has also strengthened my view that new research such as Kyra’s is very much needed to provide new possible explanations for lower back pain in some individuals.

This week me and Kyra also sat down and discussed my role for the next couple of weeks, we are going to start organising the recruitment of more participants and begin the next stage in data collection. This is really exciting for me as a student, because I will get to see first hand the collection of data, and this will give me great experience for when I start my Dissertation.
This is because I will gain experience in communication with participants, data coding and data storage.

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