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Physiotherapy. 2014 Sep;100(3):235-41. doi: 10.1016/ Epub 2013 Oct 4.

Do musculoskeletal physiotherapists believe the NICE guidelines for the management of non-specific LBP are practical and relevant to their practice? A cross sectional survey.

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Department of Orthopaedics, Watford General Hospital, Vicarage Road, Watford WD18 0HB, UK.
Faculty of Health and Wellbeing, Sheffield Hallam University, Sheffield S10 2BP, UK. Electronic address:



Evidence-based practice has become fundamentally important in the field of musculoskeletal physiotherapy, which include clinical practice guidelines, such as those developed by National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE) for low back pain.


To gauge whether musculoskeletal physiotherapist working in the UK are compliant with the NICE guidelines for back pain, and if they believe them to be practical and relevant to their current practice.


Descriptive cross-sectional voluntary electronic survey.


A survey of musculoskeletal physiotherapists currently working in the UK was conducted through an anonymous online data collection website over a two month data collection period. Data was collected about demographic details of participants, and their views about the NICE guidelines through a specially designed questionnaire, and are presented descriptively.


Two hundred and twenty-three therapists participated. Following a thematic content analysis seven key themes were identified about the guidelines: they facilitated evidence-based practice; they were unrealistic and idealistic; they did not facilitate a multimodal approach; they promoted largely a passive approach; they challenged therapist autonomy; they were outdated; they lacked relevance and specificity.


Musculoskeletal physiotherapists strongly believe in the principles of EBP, and thought the NICE back pain guidelines were relevant to their practice. However the recommendations made within the guidelines were not realistic in day to day practice and they impacted negatively on the practice in a number of ways.


Clinical practice guidelines; Evidence based practice; Low back pain; National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE); Non-specific low back pain

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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