Back Pain Among Airport Security Staff In The UK

The high prevalence and severity of back pain among UK airport security staff

After headaches, back pain is the second most chronic disorder in the United Kingdom. In the lifespan of human beings, everyone is prone to or experiences back pains at different times, severity, age and due to different causes. Various research conducted by professionals in the field of nursing indicates that about eighty percent of adults will experience some back pains in a certain period and only thirty percent seek clinical interventions on the problem. It is also notable that healthcare facilities in the United Kingdom are paying huge sums of money to treat back pains. This situation results from a high prevalence and incidence of disabilities related to chronic and acute back pains. Moreover, the condition is characterized by different occupations conducted by individuals in the economic world. Airport security staff in the United Kingdom is one of the jobs that has been characterized by high incidences of back pain. Therefore, this essay will discuss the need for dressing the health condition, the current services provided by the UK healthcare facilities, opportunities and constraints. Also, it will evaluate the implications of professional practice and the interventions made to solve the health situation.

Save Time On Research and Writing
Hire a Pro to Write You a 100% Plagiarism-Free Paper.
Get My Paper

There is a fundamental need for health practitioners and professionals to address the issue of back pain among the airport security staff. A study that has been conducted towards the health hazards of airport security staff is still limited (Adey, 2009, p. 280). Hence, there is a significant need to identify the activities or services that are facilitated by the individuals and most likely those that put them at risk of experiencing acute and chronic back pains. Providing security in the airport is increasingly de-professionalized and is characterized by a lot of work and low worker control.

In the line of duty, the officers are likely to experience high musculoskeletal injuries. They may result from prolonged standing while verifying security issues around and within the airport boundaries, frequent handling of baggage, harsh environmental conditions, work scheduling, non-adjustable computer workstations, violence from hostile passengers and terrorists, static posture during work shifts or uneven workload distribution (Hoy, 2010, p. 771). Other factors that might cause negative health effects such as back pain among the officers include insufficient training, intensification of work, quick turnaround rules, and insufficient autonomy.

In the aspect of violence, research implies that over eighty percent of airport security staff have been verbally abused by a passenger while over twenty percent have been threatened. Moreover, lifting of baggage has been characterized by low mechanized baggage systems in airports. It attracts some assistance of manual lifting which is facilitated by officers who are at reach. The acts of squatting, bending and twisting while lifting heavy baggage exposes the security staff to severe back pains (Hoy, 2010, p. 777). On the other hand, lack of autonomy in the working environment restricts essential decisions from the security staff that may assist in improving the health condition of the airport security workers. Moreover, harsh working environments are characterized by extensive static postures of sitting or standing. Such issues may disrupt non-work activities, normal sleeping and most importantly permanent or temporary disability.

The need for addressing back pain among airport security staff in the UK

The purpose of studying the events that revolve around the airport security occupation is to determine its significance and correlation towards high cases of musculoskeletal disorder reported in the United Kingdom healthcare facilities (Wynne, 2008, p. 184). It will assist in identifying the prevalence and incidence of the disease, the current mechanism of controlling the situation, the opportunities of treatment available and the problems faced by healthcare professionals while administering treatments to control and minimize the situation among the affected individuals.

Save Time On Research and Writing
Hire a Pro to Write You a 100% Plagiarism-Free Paper.
Get My Paper

Furthermore, studying the back pain situation among airport security staff in the UK will shed light on future researchers or scholars in this field. It will assist them in analysis and evaluation processes of areas that might need further studies or the correlating fields revolving around back pains among individuals. The review will also enlighten general scholars who seek some knowledge towards musculoskeletal disorders.

Research based on examination of the health condition of airport security staff in the United Kingdom reveals that the individuals suffer from various musculoskeletal disorders. They include neck pains, shoulder pains, and back pains. Statistics of the health facilities reveal that among the three conditions, back pains are the more prevalent conditions that affect airport officers in the United Kingdom (Martin et al., 2008, p. 658). The effects are severe to the extents of interfering with normal working conditions of the affected staff members. Figures of the study imply that over fifty percent of the airport security workers diagnosed with MSDs suffer from neck pains, around forty-nine percent suffer from shoulder pain and one out of every two individuals suffer from back pains. Hence, it raises a significant concern of the need to address MSDs in the United Kingdom healthcare facilities especially back pains (André, 2013, p. 11).

The results also reveal that two-thirds of the individuals affected by back pains are not in a position of getting back to work since their condition transpose from acute to chronic back pains. As stated earlier, only thirty percent of the affected airport security staff make efforts of seeking professional interventions for their health situations (André, 2013, p. 13). The other seventy percent assume or ignore the situation making the condition more severe and detrimental. This situation leads to temporary or permanent disabilities as well as the inability to ever work again.

More research implies that over half of the airport security staff with back pains have faced trouble with sleeping. Biologically, large cases of chronic sleep loss are characterized by physical pain (Hong, 2013, p. 76). Furthermore, extended situations of sleeplessness interfere with the person’s ability to participate optimally in his or her daily tasks like providing security services in the airport. Correspondingly, the pain reduces resistance to emotional stress experienced outside work and in the working environment. Other significant negativities that result from acute and chronic pains include expensive and extensive patient treatment procedures, time off work and excessive attention from family members (Hong, 2013, p. 80).

Another factor that has promoted an increase in the prevalence of back pain conditions among airport security staff in the United Kingdom is the job orientation. Traditionally, security tasks characterized with the mentioned aspects in the around the airport environment was meant for men (Koes et al., 2010, p. 2077). However, the situations have changed. The workforce has been dominated by women who are less muscular than men. Hence, lifting of heavy baggage, subjection to irregular shifts and violence among other factors subject women to health risks as far as the musculoskeletal disorder are concerned. It does not necessarily imply that women are incapable but the impact of the infection on women if extremely higher than in men. Therefore, such prevalence implies that there is a need for healthcare givers to intervene and control the situation.

Current service provision for back pain among airport security staff in the UK

Various processes of examination have been conducted to identify the current nature of services provided in the United Kingdom healthcare facilities with the aim of controlling the highly reported incidences and prevalence of back pain. The National Institute of Health in the United Kingdom imply that the process of diagnosis is not essential or necessary to confirm factors that may have resulted to back pains in an individual (Koes et al., 2010, p. 2088). However, further evaluation reveals that the doctor decides to treat the patients conservatively or investigate further to identify the most appropriate causes of the musculoskeletal disorders which include back pains. Further research includes activities like MRI, X-Rays, nerve studies and bone scan. Moreover, the doctor might decide to carry out some physical evaluations to the patients by instructing a range of movements, testing flexes using a reflex hammer and the patient’s ability to carry his or her daily tasks.

Medicine is another form of current treatment offered by healthcare professionals in the United Kingdom healthcare facilities. This treatment is obtained from scientific medical research. Therefore, various researchers are currently conducting research procedures in laboratories to examine how different drugs can treat back pain effectively (Juniper,2009, p. 2585). Some drugs are specific to a significant period. For example, tests are being conducted to verify whether some drugs can treat chronic pain that has been diagnosed in a patient in six months. Other nature of services includes chiropractic, standard medical care, acupressure, acupuncture and massage therapy (Park,2010, p. 885).

Further evaluation of current nature of services implies that experts are comparing the mentioned mechanisms to identify the best one in restoring the functionality, proving a satisfactory treatment and measuring symptom relief of the patients. Correspondingly, other research procedures are comparing standards non-surgical treatments that are frequently used to standard surgical treatments. The comparison measures changes in quality of health services provided to airport security staff diagnosed with back pain (Darlow et al., 2012, p. 317).

Other than seeking a doctor’s treatment, the evaluation procedure reveals that healthcare providers have advised the affected individuals to seek alternative treatments. Two of the most reliable procedure for treating back pains is acupuncture and acupressure. Acupuncture entails insertion of fine needles in the lines of energy (Hopton, 2012, p. 456). It aims at the restoration of energy lines that are disrupted by a range of activities conducted by airport security staff thus leading to severe back pains. It corrects the imbalances of the skin using the art of the needles. The idea was borrowed from Asian countries which include China, Korea, Japan and other countries. On the other hand, acupressure can be described as acupuncture without needles. It is a form of massage that stimulates acupuncture points or anatomical locations in the skin. Wellness from the chronic pain is promoted as well as treatment. The blocked meridians of energy are obtained, and the pain is carried away eventually.

Various opportunities have been created by the current healthcare services provided on treatment of back pains and other MSDs among the airport security staff. They have been generated due to the current deficiency in the recruitment of primary care professionals in chronic and acute pain management (Gatchel,2014, p 119). Therefore, there is a chance for reforming and promoting the integration of professionals of pain management to provide patient-centered, evidence-based and holistic healthcare services to affected individuals such as airport security staff. Also, further professional skills will be incorporated to the existing primary care providers who received little training in treatment and evaluation procedures of chronic pain.

Opportunities and constraints related to addressing back pain among airport security staff in the UK

As far as opportunities are concerned, there are constraints in healthcare systems that affect the provision of effective healthcare services in back pain management. Firstly, deficiencies of primary healthcare providers in chronic and acute back pain management have dominated the healthcare facilities in the UK. With increased incidences and prevalence of back pains, trained professionals are unable to provide maximum health care to patients due to the insignificant ratio of patients to healthcare givers (Hoy, 2014, p. 971). Secondly, the prolonged debt and economic slump in the National Health Service of the UK explains why there are still many opportunities for reforming and training more healthcare givers to provide high-quality services to back pain patients (Wenig, 2009, p. 283).

Thirdly, insufficient steps of transforming the health sector by the government have caused limited attempts of clinical innovations that would aid in chronic pain management in patients. Fourthly, the cost of health subjected towards the management of prolonged chronic back pains among patients has paralyzed the smooth procedure of treatment. Most patients lack health insurances. Thus, meeting the treatment becomes expensive and distracts them from evidence-based treatment to patient-centred approaches which might be ineffective (Wenig, 2009, p. 287). Moreover, the doctor-patient relationship has affected treatment procedures in UK health facilities. Poor relationships resulting from cases of emotions, empathy, use of opioids and other may lead to disparities and disagreements in the healthcare systems.

A critical examination of professional practice implications on chronic back pain management reveals that several adjustments need to be made to improve treatment and prevention procedures of back pains. It also reveals how the adjustments can be made and how the health condition affects the airport security staff. Therefore, possible reforms are evident in treatment mechanisms provided by healthcare facilities in the UK and the working environment of the back pain patients. In the treatment part, professionals should establish good relationships with patients to ensure proper treatment is facilitated. Good relationships are reinforced by an understanding of the patient’s decisions, beliefs, and cultural aspects (Bishop,2008, p. 189). 

Still, the National Health Service of UK should settle all bills to enable a smooth flow of activities in healthcare facilities. It is also advisable for the government to amend policies that facilitate proper treatment of pain among patients. On the other hand, patients should obtain health insurances to assist in health expenses obtained in the process of treatment (Hong, 2013, p. 81). Correspondingly, strategic management procedures of airports should be adjusted to improve the working environment of its security staff members. Efficient baggage mechanisms should be established as well as regular working shifts to prevent the increasing cases of back pains. Also, primary caregivers should find the need of being recruited in programs of pain management training.

An evidence-based intervention was conducted with the aim of meeting the primary health need of back pains among airport security staff in the UK (Cho, et al., 2012, p. 949). The research was based on identifying the most popular therapeutic approach used in health facilities and at a patient-centred approach. It was realized that acupuncture was the most popular treatment procedure used for chronic back pains although its effectiveness had not been demonstrated sufficiently. Therefore, an intervention was required to provide evidence of whether acupuncture was effective in the treatment or not (Madsen, 2009, p. 3115). It involved a random controlled trial of participants with specific and non-specific chronic low back pain. Results revealed that acupuncture was more effective in control of short-term pain. It was also characterized by the functional improvement of patients at their job places. Although the results were credible and accurate, they were weakened by high cases of insufficient blinding of the participants. 

Implications for professional practice regarding back pain among airport security staff in the UK

On long-term situation, it was realized that acupuncture was more effective than usual care procedure of reducing pain in individuals (Cho, et al., 2012, p. 951). The increased function was also reported. Thus, based on evidence provided by the research, acupuncture is a good remedy for controlling chronic back pain among the affected airport security staff.

In conclusion, it is clear that back pains are common among airport security staff. The situation has characterized the series of strenuous activities mentioned in the essay.  Correspondingly, high prevalence cases reported on the condition among the security staff has shown the need for seeking health interventions. Therefore, critical evaluation processes have revealed the current services provided to treat and control the condition in the UK health facilities. They include physical therapy, acupuncture, surgery, massage, scientific-based research on medicine and others. Moreover, the current services provided have revealed implications of professional activities that can assist in the improvement of healthcare services of pain management. Furthermore, evidence-based interventions have shown how different therapeutic approaches can be used in providing effective treatment to affected individuals.


Adey, P., 2009. Facing airport security: affect, biopolitics, and the preemptive securitisation of the mobile body. Environment and Planning D: Society and Space, 27(2), pp.274-295.

André, C. and Hermann, C., 2013. Privatisation of health care in Europe. Vienna: Working Life Research Centre.

Bishop, A., Foster, N.E., Thomas, E. and Hay, E.M., 2008. How does the self-reported clinical management of patients with low back pain relate to the attitudes and beliefs of health care practitioners? A survey of UK general practitioners and physiotherapists. PAIN®, 135(1-2), pp.187-195.

Cho, S.Y., Shim, S.R., Rhee, H.Y., Park, H.J., Jung, W.S., Moon, S.K., Park, J.M., Ko, C.N., Cho, K.H. and Park, S.U., 2012. Effectiveness of acupuncture and bee venom acupuncture in idiopathic Parkinson’s disease. Parkinsonism & related disorders, 18(8), pp.948-952.

Darlow, B., Fullen, B.M., Dean, S., Hurley, D.A., Baxter, G.D. and Dowell, A., 2012. The association between health care professional attitudes and beliefs and the attitudes and beliefs, clinical management, and outcomes of patients with low back pain: a systematic review. European Journal of Pain, 16(1), pp.3-17.

Gatchel, R.J., McGeary, D.D., McGeary, C.A. and Lippe, B., 2014. Interdisciplinary chronic pain management: past, present, and future. American Psychologist, 69(2), p.119.

Hong, J., Reed, C., Novick, D. and Happich, M., 2013. Costs associated with treatment of chronic low back pain: an analysis of the UK General Practice Research Database. Spine, 38(1), pp.75-82.

Hopton, A.K., Curnoe, S., Kanaan, M. and MacPherson, H., 2012. Acupuncture in practice: mapping the providers, the patients and the settings in a national cross-sectional survey. BMJ open, 2(1), p.e000456.

Hoy, D., Brooks, P., Blyth, F. and Buchbinder, R., 2010. The epidemiology of low back pain. Best practice & research Clinical rheumatology, 24(6), pp.769-781.

Hoy, D., March, L., Brooks, P., Blyth, F., Woolf, A., Bain, C., Williams, G., Smith, E., Vos, T., Barendregt, J. and Murray, C., 2014. The global burden of low back pain: estimates from the Global Burden of Disease 2010 study. Annals of the rheumatic diseases, 73(6), pp.968-974.

Juniper, M., Le, T.K. and Mladsi, D., 2009. The epidemiology, economic burden, and pharmacological treatment of chronic low back pain in France, Germany, Italy, Spain and the UK: a literature-based review. Expert opinion on pharmacotherapy, 10(16), pp.2581-2592.

Koes, B.W., van Tulder, M., Lin, C.W.C., Macedo, L.G., McAuley, J. and Maher, C., 2010. An updated overview of clinical guidelines for the management of non-specific low back pain in primary care. European Spine Journal, 19(12), pp.2075-2094.

Madsen, M.V., Gøtzsche, P.C. and Hróbjartsson, A., 2009. Acupuncture treatment for pain: systematic review of randomised clinical trials with acupuncture, placebo acupuncture, and no acupuncture groups. Bmj, 338, p.a3115.

Martin, B.I., Deyo, R.A., Mirza, S.K., Turner, J.A., Comstock, B.A., Hollingworth, W. and Sullivan, S.D., 2008. Expenditures and health status among adults with back and neck problems. Jama, 299(6), pp.656-664.

Park, J.M., Shin, A.S., Park, S.U., Sohn, I.S., Jung, W.S. and Moon, S.K., 2010. The acute effect of acupuncture on endothelial dysfunction in patients with hypertension: a pilot, randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled crossover trial. The journal of alternative and complementary medicine, 16(8), pp.883-888.

Wenig, C.M., Schmidt, C.O., Kohlmann, T. and Schweikert, B., 2009. Costs of back pain in Germany. European Journal of Pain, 13(3), pp.280-286.

Wynne?Jones, G., Dunn, K.M. and Main, C.J., 2008. The impact of low back pain on work: a study in primary care consulters. European Journal of Pain, 12(2), pp.180-188.