Are the attitudes and beliefs of Australian exercise‐based practitioners associated with their use of, and confidence in, treatment modalities for people with chronic low back pain?

Review written by Ben Cormack info

Key Points

  1. The biomedical/biopsychosocial alignment of practitioners working with back pain influences treatment choices.
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BACKGROUND & OBJECTIVE

As chronic low back pain (CLBP) is the most prevalent musculoskeletal problem globally (1), it’s treatment and attitudes around treatment are of interest to a wide variety of healthcare professionals.

In the context of pain, attitudes and beliefs can be broadly divided into two categories: biomedical and biopsychosocial. Those with higher biomedical beliefs view pain as more closely related to tissue damage or some underlying pathology, whereas those with higher biopsychosocial beliefs better acknowledge the array of other factors (e.g., psychological and social) that can contribute to pain. The attitudes and beliefs of practitioners regarding CLBP are important because they are associated with the type(s) of treatment they provide and the beliefs of their patients.

This study focused on physiotherapists and exercise physiologists (AEPS), which type of treatments they used and if this was influenced by a biomedical or biopsychosocial orientation/attitude. Another question was if AEPS and physiotherapists differ in the types of treatments they use. The study question was “to assess the influence of physiotherapists and AEP attitudes and beliefs on their use of, and confidence in different treatments for the management of CLBP”.

Chronic low back pain is the most prevalent musculoskeletal problem globally.
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A more biomedical orientation can lead to patient care that diverges from clinical guidelines and this can lead to reductions in both leisure and work-related activity.

METHODS

  • This study used an online survey, delivered via Qualtrics, to assess the treatment choices of Australian AEPs and physiotherapists. The survey asked practitioners about their demographics, clinical experience, and confidence in managing CLBP.
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