Adherence to key domains in low back pain guidelines: a cross-sectional study of Danish physiotherapists

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Objective: The aim of the study was threefold: Firstly, to investigate the adherence to clinical practice guidelines for low back pain (LBP) among Danish physiotherapists with regard to three key domains: (a) activity, (b) work and (c) psychosocial risk factors. Secondly, to investigate whether adherence differed between physiotherapists working in private clinics (private physiotherapists) and physiotherapists working at public healthcare centres (public physiotherapists). Thirdly, to describe the physiotherapists' treatment modalities for patients with LBP. Methods: A cross-sectional online survey was conducted with 817 physiotherapists working in the Central Denmark Region. Adherence to the guideline domains was assessed using two vignettes. The difference in adherence between the groups was assessed using the Chi-squared test. Treatment modalities were reported using descriptive statistics. Results: A total of 234 physiotherapists responded, hereof 163 private physiotherapists and 71 public physiotherapists (response rate 29%). The proportions of physiotherapists managing the patients strictly in line with the guideline domains were 32% (activity), 16% (work) and 82% (psychosocial risk factors) for Vignette 1 and 6% (activity), 53% (work) and 60% (psychosocial risk factors) for Vignette 2. Public physiotherapists were more likely to manage patients strictly in line with guidelines for assessing the psychosocial risk factors compared to private physiotherapist (Vignette 1: 92% vs. 77% p =.030; Vignette 2:70% vs. 55% p =.035). Regarding the other two domains, there was no significant difference between the two groups in terms of adherence (p >.05). Concerning treatment modalities, the majority of physiotherapists instructed the patients in adopting an exercise program or informed the patients about the benign nature and prognosis of LBP. Conclusion: Overall, the participating Danish physiotherapists strictly adhered to only one out of three key domains. This underlines the importance of bringing focus on implementing the current guidelines' recommendations in clinical practice.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere1858
JournalPhysiotherapy Research International
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2020

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