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J Man Manip Ther. 2015 May;23(2):109-18. doi: 10.1179/2042618613Y.0000000065.

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

Author information

1
Physical Therapy Program, Nova Southeastern University, Fort Lauderdale, FL, USA.
2
Department of Physical Therapy, Nova Southeastern University, Fort Lauderdale, FL, USA.
3
Physical Therapy Department, IJAHSP, Nova Southeastern University, Fort Lauderdale, FL, USA.

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.

KEYWORDS:

Clinical guidelines; Evidence-based practice; Low back pain; Physical therapy; Practice description

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