Title

Physical therapists' treatment choices for non-specific low back pain in Florida: an electronic survey.

ISBN or ISSN

1066-9817

Volume

23

Issue

2

Publication Date / Copyright Date

4-10-2014

First Page

109

Last Page

118

DOI Number

10.1179/2042618613Y.0000000065

Abstract

OBJECTIVES: No study has described low back pain (LBP) treatment choices among physical therapists (PTs) in the United States (US) in the new millennium. Intervention for LBP in the new millennium is largely based on evidence-based practice (EBP) recommendations. The purpose of this study was twofold: (a) to describe PTs' preferences for treating acute and subacute non-specific LBP in Florida and to compare these preferences to EBP guideline recommendations and (b) to compare outpatient musculoskeletal therapist (MSPT) choices for management of acute and subacute LBP to non-outpatient musculoskeletal therapist (NMSPT) choices.

METHODS: The data were collected with an electronic survey. Study participants selected treatment choices for acute and subacute LBP clinical vignettes.

RESULTS: A total of 327 PTs participated in the study, of which 128 worked in outpatient musculoskeletal settings. The most common treatment choices for acute and subacute LBP were home exercise program, exercise in the clinic, back care education, joint mobilization, ice/heat, and interferential current. The EBP adherence rate for acute LBP was 30% for MSPTs and 15% for NMSPTs. Thirty-seven percent (37%) of MSPTs and 30% of NMSPTs adhered to EBP guidelines for subacute LBP.

DISCUSSION: The EBP adherence rate for management of acute and subacute LBP was low. Spinal manipulation was underutilized for management of acute LBP, and passive therapeutic procedures were overutilized for subacute LBP. Physical Therapy schools and professional associations should reemphasize the benefits of spinal manipulation to manage non-specific acute LBP and active interventional procedures to manage subacute LBP.

Disciplines

Medicine and Health Sciences

Keywords

Low Back Pain, Practice Description, Evidence-Based Practice, Clinical Guidelines, Physical Therapy

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Peer Reviewed

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