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1.  Work related musculoskeletal disorders amongst therapists in physically demanding roles: qualitative analysis of risk factors and strategies for prevention 
Physiotherapy and occupational therapy are two professions at high risk of work related musculoskeletal disorders (WRMD). This investigation aimed to identify risk factors for WRMD as perceived by the health professionals working in these roles (Aim 1), as well as current and future strategies they perceive will allow them to continue to work in physically demanding clinical roles (Aim 2).
A two phase exploratory investigation was undertaken. The first phase included a survey administered via a web based platform with qualitative open response items. The second phase involved four focus group sessions which explored topics obtained from the survey. Thematic analysis of qualitative data from the survey and focus groups was undertaken.
Overall 112 (34.3%) of invited health professionals completed the survey; 66 (58.9%) were physiotherapists and 46 (41.1%) were occupational therapists. Twenty-four health professionals participated in one of four focus groups. The risk factors most frequently perceived by health professionals included: work postures and movements, lifting or carrying, patient related factors and repetitive tasks. The six primary themes for strategies to allow therapists to continue to work in physically demanding clinical roles included: organisational strategies, workload or work allocation, work practices, work environment and equipment, physical condition and capacity, and education and training.
Risk factors as well as current and potential strategies for reducing WRMD amongst these health professionals working in clinically demanding roles have been identified and discussed. Further investigation regarding the relative effectiveness of these strategies is warranted.
PMCID: PMC3038991  PMID: 21266039
2.  Physical activity and health-related quality of life among physiotherapists: a cross sectional survey in an Australian hospital and health service 
Physiotherapists are a professional group with a high rate of attrition and at high risk of musculoskeletal disorders. The purpose of this investigation was to examine the physical activity levels and health-related quality of life of physiotherapists working in metropolitan clinical settings in an Australian hospital and health service. It was hypothesized that practicing physiotherapists would report excellent health-related quality of life and would already be physically active. Such a finding would add weight to a claim that general physical activity conditioning strategies may not be useful for preventing musculoskeletal disorders among active healthy physiotherapists, but rather, future investigations should focus on the development and evaluation of role specific conditioning strategies.
A questionnaire was completed by 44 physiotherapists from three inpatient units and three ambulatory clinics (63.7% response rate). Physical activity levels were reported using the Active Australia Survey. Health-related quality of life was examined using the EQ-5D instrument. Physical activity and EQ-5D data were examined using conventional descriptive statistics; with domain responses for the EQ-5D presented in a frequency histogram.
The majority of physiotherapists in this sample were younger than 30 years of age (n = 25, 56.8%) consistent with the presence of a high attrition rate. Almost all respondents exceeded minimum recommended physical activity guidelines (n = 40, 90.9%). Overall the respondents engaged in more vigorous physical activity (median = 180 minutes) and walking (median = 135 minutes) than moderate exercise (median = 35 minutes) each week. Thirty-seven (84.1%) participants reported no pain or discomfort impacting their health-related quality of life, with most (n = 35,79.5%) being in full health.
Physical-conditioning based interventions for the prevention of musculoskeletal disorders among practicing physiotherapists may be better targeted to role or task specific conditioning rather than general physical conditioning among this physically active population. It is plausible that an inherent attrition of physiotherapists may occur among those not as active or healthy as therapists who cope with the physical demands of clinical practice. Extrapolation of findings from this study may be limited due to the sample characteristics. However, this investigation addressed the study objectives and has provided a foundation for larger scale longitudinal investigations in this field.
PMCID: PMC3896696  PMID: 24405934
Physical activity; Work related musculoskeletal disorders; Physiotherapists; Prevention; Injury; Attrition; Quality of life; Workforce; Australian
3.  Incidence of ulnar nerve entrapment at the elbow in repetitive work 
Despite the high frequency of work-related musculoskeletal disorders (WRMD), the relations between working conditions and ulnar nerve entrapment at the elbow (UNEE) has not been the object of much study. We studied the predictive factors for UNEE in a three-year prospective survey of upper-limb WRMD in repetitive work.
In 1993–1994 and three years later, 598 workers whose jobs involve repetitive work were examined by their occupational health physicians and completed a self-administered questionnaire. Predictive factors associated with the onset of UNEE were studied with bivariate and multivariate analysis.
Annual incidence was estimated at 0.8% per person year, based on 15 new cases during this three-year period. Holding a tool in position was the only predictive biomechanical factor (OR = 4.1, CI 1.4–12.0). Obesity increased the risk of UNEE (OR = 4.3, CI 1.2–16.2), as did presence of medial epicondylitis, carpal tunnel syndrome, radial tunnel syndrome, and cervicobrachial neuralgia. The associations with “holding a tool in position” and obesity were unchanged when the presence of other diagnoses was taken into account.
Despite the limitations of the study, the results suggest that UNEE incidence is associated with one biomechanical risk factor (holding a tool in position, repetitively), with overweight, and with other upper-limb WRMD, especially medial epicondylitis and other nerve entrapment disorders (cervicobrachial neuralgia, carpal and radial tunnel syndromes).
PMCID: PMC2988822  PMID: 15250652
Adult; Comorbidity; Cubital Tunnel Syndrome; epidemiology; etiology; Cumulative Trauma Disorders; complications; epidemiology; Female; France; epidemiology; Humans; Incidence; Logistic Models; Male; Middle Aged; Musculoskeletal Diseases; classification; epidemiology; Obesity; complications; Occupational Diseases; complications; epidemiology; Occupations; classification; Posture; physiology; Prospective Studies; Questionnaires; Risk Factors; Workplace; psychology; elbow; repetitive work; ulnar nerve entrapment; work-related musculoskeletal disorder
4.  Knowledge, attitude and practice of physiotherapists towards promotion of physically active lifestyles in patient management 
Physiotherapists as primary health care practitioners are well placed in promoting physically active lifestyles, but their role and practice towards its promotion among patients in Nigeria has not been fully investigated. This study was therefore aimed at determining the knowledge, attitude and practice of Nigerian physiotherapists towards promotion of non-treatment physical activity among patients.
Three hundred and eight practicing physiotherapists from various public and private hospitals in 14 states of Nigeria completed an adopted 20-item questionnaire, which collected information on physical activity promotion in physiotherapy practice.
Respondents with good knowledge and attitude towards physical activity promotion in patient management were 196(63.6%) and 292(94.8%) respectively. Only 111 (36%) of the respondents counselled more than 10 patients in the past one month on the benefits of adopting a more physically active lifestyle. Chi-square analysis showed a significant association between low practice of physical activity promotion in patient management with inadequate consultation time (ℵ2 = 3.36, p = 0.043), years of working experience of physiotherapists (ℵ2 = 11.37, p =0.023) and relative physical activity levels of physiotherapists (ℵ2 = 11.82, p = 0.037). The need for Physical activity recommendation guideline was supported by 287 (97%) respondents.
Nigerian physiotherapists have good knowledge and attitude towards promotion of physically active lifestyle in their patients but do not counsel many of them, due to insufficient consultation time. Integrating brief counselling into usual treatment sessions is perceived as the most feasible form of physical activity promotion in patient management.
PMCID: PMC3556299  PMID: 23316902
Knowledge; Attitude; Practice; Physical activity
5.  Physician diagnosed asthma, respiratory symptoms, and associations with workplace tasks among radiographers in Ontario, Canada 
Background: Medical radiation technologists (MRTs) or radiographers have potential exposure to chemicals including sensitisers and irritants such as glutaraldehyde, formaldehyde, sulphur dioxide, and acetic acid.
Aims: To determine the prevalence of asthma and work related respiratory symptoms among MRTs compared with physiotherapists, and to identify work related factors in the darkroom environment that are associated with these outcomes.
Methods: As part of a two component study, we undertook a questionnaire mail survey of the members of the professional associations of MRTs and physiotherapists in Ontario, Canada, to ascertain the prevalence of physician diagnosed asthma, and the prevalence in the past 12 months of three or more of the nine respiratory symptoms (previously validated by Venables et al to be sensitive and specific for the presence of self reported asthma). Information on exposure factors during the past 12 months, such as ventilation conditions, processor leaks, cleanup activities, and use of personal protective equipment was also collected.
Results: The survey response rate was 63.9% among MRTs and 63.1% among physiotherapists. Most analyses were confined to 1110 MRTs and 1523 physiotherapists who never smoked. The prevalence of new onset asthma (since starting in the profession) was greater among never smoking MRTs than physiotherapists (6.4% v 3.95%), and this differed across gender: it was 30% greater among females but fivefold greater among males. Compared with physiotherapists, the prevalence of reporting three or more respiratory symptoms, two or more work related, and three or more work related respiratory symptoms in the past 12 months was more frequent among MRTs, with odds ratios (ORs) (and 95% confidence intervals) adjusted for age, gender, and childhood asthma, of 1.9 (1.5 to 2.3), 3.7 (2.6 to 5.3), and 3.2 (2.0 to 5.0), respectively. Analyses examining latex glove use indicated that this was not likely to account for these differences. Among MRTs, respiratory symptoms were associated with a number of workplace and exposure factors likely to generate aerosol or chemical exposures such as processors not having local ventilation, adjusted OR 2.0 (1.4 to 3.0); leaking processor in which clean up was delayed, 2.4 (1.6 to 3.5); floor drain clogged, 2.0 (1.2 to 3.2); freeing a film jam, 2.9 (1.8 to 4.8); unblocking a blocked processor drain, 2.4 (1.6 to 3.7); and cleaning up processor chemical spill, 2.8 (1.9 to 4.2). These outcomes were not associated with routine tasks unlikely to generate exposures, such as working outside primary workplace, loading film into processor, routine cleaning of processors, or removing processed film. Males reported that they carried out a number of tasks potentially associated with irritant exposures more frequently than females, consistent with the marked increase in risk for new onset asthma.
Conclusions: These findings suggest an increase of work related asthma and respiratory symptoms shown to denote asthma among MRTs, which is consistent with previous surveys. The mechanism is not known but appears to be linked with workplace factors and may involve a role for irritant exposures.
PMCID: PMC1740502  PMID: 12660373
6.  Occupational accident and disease claims, work-related stress and job satisfaction of physiotherapists 
Physiotherapists are exposed to diverse occupational demands. Until now, little has been known about the interaction between occupational stress and the job satisfaction of physiotherapists. This paper aims to examine their work-related stress and job satisfaction. It will analyse accidents at work and occupational diseases of physiotherapists along with work-related physical and psychosocial stress and job satisfaction.
We analysed routine data of the German Institute for Statutory Accident Insurance and Prevention in the Health and Welfare Services (BGW) on accidents at work and occurring en route to/from work as well as occupational diseases of physiotherapists. Work-related stress and job satisfaction were examined in a cross-sectional survey using a standard questionnaire to be completed by subjects themselves.
Between 2007 and 2011, 1,229 cases of occupational disease were reported to the BGW. The majority of reports involved skin diseases (73%). Stumbles and falls were the most frequent causes of accidents at work (42.9%). Eighty-five physiotherapists all over Germany took part in the survey. They experience high quantitative demands at work. The main physical demands consist of a torso posture between 45° and 90° and high hand activity. Of the 85 subjects, 51% suffer from complaints of the musculoskeletal system in the neck and thoracic spine area and 24% have skin diseases. Most physiotherapists (88%) are satisfied with their work overall. This is aided by a high degree of influence on their work and breaks, by practical application of skills and expert knowledge, high regard for their profession, varied work and a good atmosphere at work. Reservations tend to be about statutory regulations and the social benefits provided by the German healthcare system.
Overall, despite high demands and stress relating to the adequacy of resources, the majority of physiotherapists surveyed seem to be satisfied with their job. The main focus of action to promote the health of physiotherapists should be on preventing skin disease, problems of the musculoskeletal system and accidents caused by stumbles and falls.
PMCID: PMC4262239  PMID: 25505490
Working conditions; Physiotherapist; Job satisfaction; Accidents; Occupational disease
7.  Practice Patterns of Canadian Physiotherapists Mobilizing Patients with External Ventricular Drains 
Physiotherapy Canada  2013;65(4):365-373.
Purpose: To describe current mobilization practices of Canadian physiotherapists when treating patients with external ventricular drains (EVDs). Methods: A quantitative, descriptive, cross-sectional study design using an online questionnaire via SurveyMonkey. An email invitation and questionnaire link was distributed in March 2010 to physiotherapists currently working with this patient population in Neurosurgical Centres across Canada. Results: Respondents were 25 physiotherapists (21 full-time, 2 part-time, and 2 who did not disclose work status) working in 5 different provinces who treated ≥1 patient/month with an EVD (n=9). Slightly more than half of respondents had ≤10 years' clinical physiotherapy experience (n=14); the remainder had >10 years' experience (n=11). The majority of respondents indicated that they felt comfortable mobilizing patients with EVDs (n =19) and that it was safe to do so (n=20). Clinical experience (n=23) and safety concerns (n=25) were most commonly cited as guiding practice. More experienced physiotherapists were more likely to use out-of-bed mobilization practices. Regardless of experience, the majority of physiotherapists (20/25) ranked intracranial pressure (ICP) as the most important factor and saturation of oxygen (Spo2) as the least important factor to consider before mobilization. Conclusions: Canadian physiotherapists are mobilizing patients with EVDs, and the intensity level of their mobilization practices appears to be related to their experience level. Data from the current study may be used in developing future best-practice guidelines for the mobilization of patients with EVDs.
PMCID: PMC3817879  PMID: 24396166
clinical experience; clinical reasoning; external ventricular drain; mobilization; drain ventriculaire externe; mobilisation; expérience clinique; physiothérapie; raisonnement clinique
8.  Work-related injuries among physiotherapists in public hospitals—a Southeast Asian picture 
Clinics  2011;66(3):373-378.
A cross-sectional study was conducted to measure the prevalence of work-related injuries among physiotherapists in Malaysia and to explore the influence of factors such as gender, body mass index, years of work experience and clinical placement areas on the occurrence of work-related musculoskeletal disorders.
Self-administered questionnaires adapted from the Nordic Musculoskeletal Questionnaire were sent to 105 physiotherapists at three main public hospitals in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. The questionnaire had 12 items that covered demographic information, areas of musculoskeletal problems and physiotherapy techniques that could contribute to work-related musculoskeletal disorders. The data obtained were analyzed using the Statistical Package for Social Science version 14 software.
The overall prevalence of work-related injuries during the past 12 months was 71.6%. Female therapists reported a significantly higher prevalence of work-related musculoskeletal disorders than the male therapists (73.0%, p<0.001). Significant differences were observed between the proportion of therapists who had work-related musculoskeletal disorders and those who did not for the group with a body mass index (BMI) >25 (χ2 = 9.0, p = 0.003) and the group with a BMI of 18–25 (χ2 = 7.8, p = 0.006). Manual therapy (58.6%) and lifting/transfer tasks (41.3%) were the two physiotherapy techniques that most often contributed to work-related musculoskeletal disorders.
Work-related injuries are significantly higher among the physiotherapists in Malaysia compared with many other countries. Female therapists reported a higher incidence of work-related musculoskeletal disorders in this study, and work-related musculoskeletal disorders were more common among therapists working in the pediatric specialty. This study contributes to the understanding of work-related disorders among physiotherapists from a southeast Asian perspective where the profession is in its development stage.
PMCID: PMC3071994  PMID: 21552658
Occupation; Manpower; Standards; Injuries, Epidemiology
9.  Work-related musculoskeletal disorders : A survey of physical therapists in Izmir-Turkey 
This study was planned to collect data about causes, prevalence and responses to work-related musculoskeletal disorders reported by physiotherapists employed in Izmir, Turkey.
A two-page survey with closed ended questions was used as the data collected method. This survey was distributed to 205 physiotherapists working in Izmir, Turkey, and 120 physiotherapists answered. Questions included occupational history of physiotherapists and musculoskeletal symptoms, special areas, tasks, job-related risk factors, injury prevention strategies, and responses to injury.
Eighty-five percent of the physiotherapists have had a musculoskeletal injury once or more in their lifetime. Injuries have been occurred mostly in low back (26 %), hand-wrist (18 %), shoulders (14 %) and neck (12 %). The highest risk factor in causing the injury was transferring the patient at 15%. Sixty-nine percent of physiotherapists visited a physician for their injury and sixty-seven percent of the respondents indicated that they had not limited their patient contact time as a result to their injury
According to the results of this study, the rate of musculoskeletal disorders in physiotherapists in Izmir-Turkey has been found to be high due to their profession. Respondents felt that a change in work habits was required in order to decrease the risk of another injury.
PMCID: PMC516038  PMID: 15315712
10.  A survey of the attitudes and beliefs about the use of TENS for pain management by physiotherapists working in two cities in Sri Lanka 
Transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation (TENS) is a noninvasive, inexpensive, self-administered technique used throughout the world to relieve pain. In Sri Lanka, physiotherapists may use TENS for their patients as they receive a small amount of education about the principles and practice of TENS in their undergraduate training. To date, there have been no data gathered about the use of TENS by physiotherapists in Sri Lanka. The aim of this study was to assess attitudes and beliefs of physiotherapists working in Sri Lanka about their use of TENS for pain management.
A postal survey was undertaken using a 12-item questionnaire developed by the investigators to gather information about attitudes, beliefs and use of TENS in clinical practice. The questionnaire was distributed to 100 physiotherapists working in three government hospitals and six private hospitals in the cities of Kandy and Colombo. A descriptive analysis of data was performed.
Sixty-seven completed questionnaires were returned (67% response rate). Over half of the respondents (58.2%) reported that they used TENS to treat pain “often” or “very often”, with use for musculoskeletal/orthopedic (61.3%) and neuropathic/neuralgic (79.1%) pain being most common. TENS was used less for postsurgical pain and rarely for cancer pain. Most (95.5%) respondents reported that their patients benefitted “considerably” from TENS. 76.1% of the respondents reported that they did not recommend and/or prescribe TENS for patients to use at home.
Physiotherapists value TENS as a treatment option to manage musculoskeletal and neuropathic pain. However, there is a need for systems and resources to enable to patients to self-administer TENS rather than having to visit clinics.
PMCID: PMC4027815  PMID: 24868178
transcutaneous electric nerve stimulation; electrotherapy; non pharmacological analgesia
11.  Professional Satisfaction and Desire to Emigrate among Nigerian Physiotherapists 
Physiotherapy Canada  2012;64(3):225-232.
Purpose: Physiotherapists from developing countries are attracted to developed countries, where health personnel are in high demand. We investigated Nigerian physiotherapists' desire to emigrate, explored the possible relationship between job satisfaction and emigration, and elucidated common reasons why physiotherapists emigrate to other countries. Methods: Nigerian physiotherapists (n=181) were surveyed using a three-part questionnaire. Part 1 elicited socio-demographic information; part 2 assessed satisfaction with work; and part 3 assessed the importance of some possible reasons that physiotherapists choose to emigrate. Results: Close to half of the physiotherapists surveyed have plans to emigrate, but no relationship exists between job satisfaction level and desire to emigrate. An overwhelming majority felt that better or more realistic remuneration was the most important reason for them to leave their country, whereas age and practice experience were inversely related to physiotherapists' desire to emigrate. Conclusion: Policies aimed at mediating “brain drain” should take age and experience into consideration and should be geared toward creating opportunities for career advancement and continuing education.
PMCID: PMC3396569  PMID: 23729955
emigration and immigration; job satisfaction; Nigeria; professional satisfaction; émigration; exode des cerveaux; physiothérapeutes nigérians; satisfaction au travail; satisfaction professionnelle
12.  The effects of a medical hypnotherapy on clothing industry employees suffering from chronic pain 
Problems associated with pain in several body regions due to work-related musculoskeletal disorders (WRMDs), repetitive movement and negative stress at work are quite common in many manufacturing industries of Latvia, clothing industry. The aim of this study was to evaluate efficiency of the psychotherapeutic intervention using medical hypnotherapy (MH) program for mind-body relaxation with pain-blocking imagery, cognitive restructuring of unpleasant physical and emotional experience.
300 sewers and 50 cutters with chronic pain were involved in the study. Self-rated WRMDs symptoms, pain intensity and interference were assessed using the extended version of Nordic Musculoskeletal Questionnaire and Brief Pain Inventory Scale. Assessment of the functional state of muscles was carried out using myotonometric (MYO) measurements. Work heaviness degree was estimated via heart rate monitoring (HRM). The MH program was composed of cognitive hypnotherapy and self-hypnosis training. Sunnen Trance Scale was used to determine person’s hypnotic susceptibility. Life quality assessment before and after MH program was carried out using Quality of Life Scale.
At the beginning of MH program sessions both sewers and cutters reported on pain interference with general activities, mood, sleep, normal work, etc., but after MH the interference of pain significantly decreased. HRM data confirmed that work heaviness degree of sewers and cutters can be referred to as light and moderate work (energy expenditure for their tasks varies from 3.4 till 4.7 kcal/min). Using MYO measurements it was stated that before MH 22% of workers involved in the study fell under III MYO category indices, consequently, their muscle tone was increased, which is associated with muscular fatigue. After MH muscle tone remained within the normal range meaning that they were able to adapt to the existing workload (II MYO category) or fully relax (I MYO category).
MH program including exercises-workouts, cognitive hypnotherapy and self-hypnosis training sessions is an effective method to decrease composite chronic pain intensity for sewers and cutters, as well as to decrease psychogenic tension and muscle fatigue (proved by objective measurements of muscles tone) and to increase the life quality.
PMCID: PMC3849799  PMID: 24066847
Muscle fatigue; Work heaviness; Psychotherapeutic intervention; Quality of life
13.  Clinical balance assessment: perceptions of commonly-used standardized measures and current practices among physiotherapists in Ontario, Canada 
Balance impairment is common in multiple clinical populations, and comprehensive assessment is important for identifying impairments, planning individualized treatment programs, and evaluating change over time. However, little information is available regarding whether clinicians who treat balance are satisfied with existing assessment tools. In 2010 we conducted a cross-sectional survey of balance assessment practices among physiotherapists in Ontario, Canada, and reported on the use of standardized balance measures (Sibley et al. 2011 Physical Therapy; 91: 1583-91). The purpose of this study was to analyse additional survey data and i) evaluate satisfaction with current balance assessment practices and standardized measures among physiotherapists who treat adult or geriatric populations with balance impairment, and ii) identify factors associated with satisfaction.
The questionnaire was distributed to 1000 practicing physiotherapists. This analysis focuses on questions in which respondents were asked to rate their general perceptions about balance assessment, the perceived utility of individual standardized balance measures, whether they wanted to improve balance assessment practices, and why. Data were summarized with descriptive statistics and utility of individual measures was compared across clinical practice areas (orthopaedic, neurological, geriatric or general rehabilitation).
The questionnaire was completed by 369 respondents, of which 43.4% of respondents agreed that existing standardized measures of balance meet their needs. In ratings of individual measures, the Single Leg Stance test and Berg Balance Scale were perceived as useful for clinical decision-making and evaluating change over time by over 70% of respondents, and the Timed Up-and-Go test was perceived as useful for decision-making by 56.9% of respondents and useful for evaluating change over time by 62.9% of respondents, but there were significant differences across practice groups. Seventy-nine percent of respondents wanted to improve their assessments, identifying individual, environmental and measure-specific barriers. The most common barriers were lack of time and knowledge.
This study offers new information on issues affecting the evaluation of balance in clinical settings from a broad sample of physiotherapists. Continued work to address barriers by specific practice area will be critical for the success of any intervention attempting to implement optimal balance assessment practices in the clinical setting.
PMCID: PMC3606836  PMID: 23510277
14.  Improved access and targeting of musculoskeletal services in northwest Wales: targeted early access to musculoskeletal services (TEAMS) programme 
BMJ : British Medical Journal  2004;329(7478):1325-1327.
Problem The hospital based musculoskeletal service in northwest Wales was unable to cope with the demand for referrals from general practitioners. Waiting times were long, duplicate referrals to other departments were common, and general practitioners were reluctant to refer patients with common problems because of the perceived lack of service. Many referrals were made to the inappropriate specialty, especially orthopaedics. At least part of this problem was due to a lack of coordination between the four hospital departments providing musculoskeletal services and the emphasis on district general hospital based rather than community provision.
Design Review over 18 months of impact of the targeted early access to musculoskeletal services (TEAMS) programme on accessibility to musculoskeletal services.
Setting Northwest Wales.
Key measures for improvement Number of patients referred and seen with musculoskeletal problems, waiting times, number of duplicate referrals, and surgery conversion rates in orthopaedic clinics.
Strategies for change Establishing with central clinical triage a common pathway for all musculoskeletal referrals so that patients attend the appropriate department. A back pain pathway led by extended scope physiotherapists was developed, and general practitioners with special interests and extended scope physiotherapists were trained to provide services for patients with uncomplicated musculoskeletal problems in the community.
Effects of change Over 18 months the number of referrals more than doubled. Despite this, waiting times for musculoskeletal services fell; this was noticeable for rheumatology and pain management. Duplicate referrals were abolished. Surgery conversion rates did not, however, change. Questionnaires from the clinics showed a high level of patient satisfaction.
Lessons learnt Integration of hospital services that traditionally have worked in isolation can result in greatly improved access to musculoskeletal services. Community based multidisciplinary clinics run by specially trained general practitioners with special interests and extended scope physiotherapists are an effective way of managing patients with uncomplicated musculoskeletal problems and have been well received by patients and general practitioners. The huge unmet burden of need was reflected by the great increase in musculoskeletal referrals. Other approaches are needed to meet this, including better education of general practitioners and methods for identifying and modifying psychosocial risk factors for chronic pain at an early stage.
PMCID: PMC534845  PMID: 15576743
15.  What does standard rehabilitation practice after total hip replacement in the UK entail? results of a mixed methods study 
There is evidence of prolonged poor function in patients following total hip replacement (THR). Studies of progressive resistance training (PRT) interventions to improve function are often compared to ‘standard’ practice which is not well defined. This study aimed to investigate ‘standard’ rehabilitation care in the UK after total hip replacement (THR) as well as determine whether PRT was part of ‘standard’ care.
After ethical approval, questionnaire item development about rehabilitation practice was guided by a focus group interview (after informed consent) with physiotherapists (n = 4; >5 years post-qualification) who regularly treated THR patients. An online questionnaire investigating the exercises prescribed and rehabilitation practice following THR was developed and sent to physiotherapists working in hospitals in the UK. The survey was performed from January to May 2011. The survey results were analysed (frequency (%) of responses) focusing on the exercises the physiotherapists considered important, as well as their use of PRT in prescribed regimes.
106 responses were obtained from physiotherapists in the UK. The survey respondents considered that the most important muscles to target in all phases of rehabilitation were the hip abductors (62.2%), followed by the quadriceps (16.9%), and other muscles (21%). Exercise type prescribed revealed no consensus, with weight bearing (42%), functional (45%) and Bed-based/Bridging/Postural exercises (13%) favoured. 83.7% were able to define the basis of progressive resistance training (PRT), but only 33% prescribed it.
Standard physiotherapy rehabilitation in the UK after THR is variable, and appears to rarely include PRT. This may be a factor in prolonged poor function in some patients after this common operation.
PMCID: PMC3606380  PMID: 23496875
Physiotherapy; Orthopaedics; Osteoarthritis; Training
16.  Nonsteroidal antiinflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) and physiotherapy management of musculoskeletal conditions: a professional minefield? 
In Australia, physiotherapy is a primary contact profession when practiced in private ambulatory settings. Primary contact means that physiotherapists take responsibility for diagnosis, decisions on interventions, appropriate ongoing management, and costs related to benefits. For most physiotherapists, the most common clinical presentations relate to symptoms from musculoskeletal conditions. There is considerable research evidence for many “physiotherapy” techniques in the management of musculoskeletal symptoms. As part of these management strategies, some physiotherapists may use nonsteroidal antiinflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) as an adjunct to treatment. Physiotherapists do not have the training or the legislative powers to prescribe NSAIDs. However, they can recommend that patients seek advice about appropriate adjunct NSAIDs from pharmacists and/or medical practitioners. The roles and responsibilities of key health providers in this area appear to be well defined in terms of minimizing medication misadventure and optimizing patient health outcomes. A recent survey of physiotherapist behaviors and practices, however, identified a number of “gray” areas that could confront unwary physiotherapists, or pose dilemmas for those without the support of medical/pharmacist colleagues. These gray areas relate to the adjunct use of topical NSAIDs in physiotherapy management and making recommendations for the use of oral NSAIDs. This paper reports on qualitative data that highlights the dilemmas confronting physiotherapists.
PMCID: PMC1661609  PMID: 18360546
physiotherapy; antiinflammatory agents; legal and ethical issues
17.  Biopsychosocial care and the physiotherapy encounter: physiotherapists’ accounts of back pain consultations 
The physiotherapy profession has undergone a paradigmatic shift in recent years, where a ‘biopsychosocial’ model of care has acquired popularity in response to mounting research evidence indicating better patient outcomes when used alongside traditional physiotherapy. However, research has not examined how this new dimension to traditional physical therapy is implemented within the therapeutic consultation.
The study aimed to investigate physiotherapists’ reported approaches to back pain care in the context of increasing pressure to address patients’ psychosocial concerns. A secondary analysis of semi-structured qualitative interviews with 12 UK physiotherapists was conducted. Respondents were sampled from a national survey, to include a broad mix of physiotherapists. Data were analysed thematically, adopting the constant comparative methodology.
The combination of traditional physical therapy with a broader biopsychosocial approach presented significant challenges. Physiotherapists responded by attempting to navigate patients’ biopsychosocial problems through use of various strategies, such as setting boundaries around their clinical role and addressing lay health beliefs of patients through the provision of reassurance and lifestyle advice.
As psychosocial issues, alongside biomechanical factors, command a prominent place within the back pain consultation, physiotherapists may benefit from further specific training and mentoring support in identifying specific strategies for combining the best of traditional physiotherapy approaches with greater focus on patients’ beliefs, fears and social context.
PMCID: PMC3585922  PMID: 23421415
Physiotherapy; Back pain; Biopsychosocial; Clinician-patient communication
18.  Management of Low Back Pain by Physical Therapists in Quebec: How Are We Doing? 
Physiotherapy Canada  2011;63(4):464-473.
Purpose: In this study, we characterized physiotherapists' attitudes and beliefs about the bio-psychosocial problem of low back pain (LBP), their use of clinical practice guidelines (CPGs), and the extent to which their advice and treatment is in line with best-evidence CPGs.
Methods: One hundred eight physiotherapists completed an online survey that included questionnaires exploring the strength of physiotherapists' biomedical and bio-psychosocial orientations toward the management of LBP: the Pain Attitudes and Beliefs Scale for Physiotherapists and the Attitudes to Back Pain Scale for musculoskeletal practitioners. In addition, participants responded to questions about treatment recommendations for patients in two vignettes.
Results: Only 12% of respondents were aware of CPGs. Physiotherapists with a stronger biomedical orientation scored the severity of spinal pathology higher in the patient vignettes. A stronger biomedical orientation was also associated with disagreement with recommendations to return to usual activity or work.
Conclusions: The results suggest limited awareness by physiotherapists of best-evidence CPGs and contemporary understandings of LBP that support early activation and self-management. Research to better understand and facilitate the implementation of best-evidence professional education and clinical practice is an urgent priority.
PMCID: PMC3207987  PMID: 22942525
practice guideline; mobility limitation; low back pain; health knowledge, attitudes, practice; activation; attitudes et croyances des physiothérapeutes; incapacité; lignes directrices de pratique clinique; lombalgie
19.  The Prevalence and Severity of Burnout among Physiotherapists in an Arabian Setting and the Influence of Organizational Factors: An Observational Study 
Journal of Physical Therapy Science  2014;26(8):1193-1198.
Burnout has been shown to be present in different health professions, but the prevalence among physiotherapists working in an Arabian setting has not been established. [Purpose] This study aimed to investigate the burnout levels of physiotherapists working in Saudi Arabia and the association of burnout with work and organization-related factors. [Subjects and Methods] A cross-sectional study was conducted at government hospitals in Saudi Arabia. One hundred and nineteen Saudi physiotherapists were included. They electronically completed a questionnaire that included the Maslach Burnout Inventory and the Areas of Worklife Survey. [Results] Participants showed a moderate degree of burnout as reflected by mean scores of the three subscales of the Maslach Burnout Inventory. The majority of participants demonstrated moderate to high burnout levels across the three subscales. A significant association was found between the exhaustion subscale and the subspecialty in which participants worked. A strong association was found between workload and exhaustion subscale scores. [Conclusion] This study was the first to explore burnout and related factors among physiotherapists in an Arabian setting. A moderate degree of burnout and associations of burnout with work and organizational factors were found. The findings may help human resource planning and managing the physiotherapy services.
PMCID: PMC4155218  PMID: 25202179
Burnout; Health professional; Workplace
20.  Physiotherapy-supervised mobilization and exercise following cardiac surgery: a national questionnaire survey in Sweden 
Limited published data are available on how patients are mobilized and exercised during the postoperative hospital stay following cardiac surgery. The aim of this survey was to determine current practice of physiotherapy-supervised mobilization and exercise following cardiac surgery in Sweden.
A prospective survey was carried out among physiotherapists treating adult cardiac surgery patients. A total population sample was identified and postal questionnaires were sent to the 33 physiotherapists currently working at the departments of thoracic surgery in Sweden. In total, 29 physiotherapists (response rate 88%) from eight hospitals completed the survey.
The majority (90%) of the physiotherapists offered preoperative information. The main rationale of physiotherapy treatment after cardiac surgery was to prevent and treat postoperative complications, improve pulmonary function and promote physical activity. In general, one to three treatment sessions were given by a physiotherapist on postoperative day 1 and one to two treatment sessions were given during postoperative days 2 and 3. During weekends, physiotherapy was given to a lesser degree (59% on Saturdays and 31% on Sundays to patients on postoperative day 1). No physiotherapy treatment was given in the evenings. The routine use of early mobilization and shoulder range of motion exercises was common during the first postoperative days, but the choice of exercises and duration of treatment varied. Patients were reminded to adhere to sternal precautions. There were great variations of instructions to the patients concerning weight bearing and exercises involving the sternotomy. All respondents considered physiotherapy necessary after cardiac surgery, but only half of them considered the physiotherapy treatment offered as optimal.
The results of this survey show that there are small variations in physiotherapy-supervised mobilization and exercise following cardiac surgery in Sweden. However, the frequency and duration of exercises and recommendations for sternal precautions reinforced for the healing period differ between physiotherapists. This survey provides an initial insight into physiotherapy management in Sweden. Comparison with surveys in other countries is warranted to improve the physiotherapy management and postoperative recovery of the cardiac surgery patient.
PMCID: PMC2936289  PMID: 20738852
21.  Interprofessional practices of physiotherapists working with adults with low back pain in Québec’s private sector: results of a qualitative study 
Collaboration and interprofessional practices are highly valued in health systems, because they are thought to improve outcomes of care for persons with complex health problems, such as low back pain. Physiotherapists, like all health providers, are encouraged to take part in interprofessional practices. However, little is known about these practices, especially for private sector physiotherapists. This study aimed to: 1) explore how physiotherapists working in the private sector with adults with low back pain describe their interprofessional practices, 2) identify factors that influence their interprofessional practices, and 3) identify their perceived effects.
Participants were 13 physiotherapists, 10 women/3 men, having between 3 and 21 years of professional experience. For this descriptive qualitative study, we used face-to-face semi-structured interviews and conducted content analysis encompassing data coding and thematic regrouping.
Physiotherapists described interprofessional practices heterogeneously, including numerous processes such as sharing information and referring. Factors that influenced physiotherapists’ interprofessional practices were related to patients, providers, organizations, and wider systems (e.g. professional system). Physiotherapists mostly viewed positive effects of interprofessional practices, including elements such as gaining new knowledge as a provider and being valued in one’s own role, as well as improvements in overall treatment and outcome.
This qualitative study offers new insights into the interprofessional practices of physiotherapists working with adults with low back pain, as perceived by the physiotherapists’ themselves. Based on the results, the development of strategies aiming to increase interprofessionalism in the management of low back pain would most likely require taking into consideration factors associated with patients, providers, the organizations within which they work, and the wider systems.
PMCID: PMC4032868  PMID: 24884757
Interprofessional collaboration; Physiotherapy; Physical therapy; Low back pain; Private sector; Qualitative research
22.  Work-Related Musculoskeletal Disorders among Nurses in Ibadan, South-west Nigeria: a cross-sectional survey 
Musculoskeletal disorders represent a significant occupational problem among nurses; however, data on musculoskeletal health of nurses in Sub-Sahara Africa are sparse. This study sought to determine the lifetime, 12-months period and point prevalence of work-related musculoskeletal disorders (WMSDs); the associated job risk factors and the coping strategies toward reducing the risk among nurses from selected hospitals in Ibadan, South-west Nigeria
A previously validated self administered questionnaire which sought information on demographics, prevalence and pattern of WMSDs, associated job risk factors and coping strategies was employed as the survey instrument. A total of 160 questionnaires were distributed to nurses in the different hospitals but 128 questionnaires were returned yielding an 80% response rate. 10 of the returned questionnaires were excluded because of incomplete data.
Eighty-four point four percent of the nurses have had WMSDs once or more in their occupational lives. The 12-months period and point prevalence rate of WMSDs at any body region was 78% and 66.1% respectively. WMSDs occurred mostly in low back (44.1%), neck (28.0%), and knees (22.4%). 30.3% treated themselves or had visited other health practitioners for care. Nurses with > 20 years of clinical experience are about 4 times more likely to develop WMSDs (OR 3.81; CI 1.08-13.4) than those with 11-20 years experience. Working in the same positions for long periods (55.1%), lifting or transferring dependent patients (50.8%) and treating an excessive number of patients in one day (44.9%) were the most perceived job risk factors for WMSDs. Getting help in handling heavy patients (50.4%), modification of nursing procedures in order to avoid re-injury (45.4%), and modifying patient's/nurse position (40.3%) were the top three coping strategies.
A high proportion of Nigerian nurses reported WMSDs at some body site in their occupational lives with the low back being injured most often. Education programmes on prevention and coping strategies for musculoskeletal disorders are recommended for nurses in order to reduce the rate of occupational hazards and also promote efficiency in patient care.
PMCID: PMC2823665  PMID: 20089139
23.  Work-related musculoskeletal disorders among health care professionals: A cross-sectional assessment of risk factors in a tertiary hospital, India 
Work-related musculoskeletal disorders (WMSDs) are responsible for morbidity in many working populations. Apart from lowering the quality of workers’ life and reducing the productivity, WMSDs are the most expensive form of work disability, attributing to about 40% of all costs toward the treatment of work-related injuries. WMSDs are considered to be multifactorials that are caused due to the interactions between various risk factors, which result in conditions that vary across different occupations. Although health care profession is known to be at a high risk for WMSDs, it is one of the least-studied occupations. Most of the previous studies on WMSDs among health care workers were limited to any one of the professional groups such as nurses, physical therapists, dentists, and others. Hence this study was aimed at looking into the WMSDs affecting five different health care professionals working in a tertiary care hospital. It compared the prevalence and distribution of WMSDs among the five groups, evaluated the multiple risk factors that contribute to the development of WMSDs, and identified the high-risk group.
Materials and Methods:
It was a cross-sectional study conducted among dentists, laboratory technicians, nurses, physicians, and physiotherapists of various clinical departments in a tertiary care hospital in Chennai, India, from January to June 2013. Face-to-face interviews as well as observational analysis of various tasks were employed. Different combinations of validated and standardized questionnaires were used for collecting different types of data.
A high proportion of health care professionals reported WMSDs at one or the other body region, lower back being the most commonly affected area. Working in the same position for long periods, working in awkward or cramped positions and handling an excessive number of patients or samples in one day were found to be the most commonly reported job risk factor that contributed to the development of WMSDs, in this study.
Among all the health care professionals assessed in this study, nurses were found to be at the highest risk, whereas physicians were at the lowest risk. A longitudinal study using quantitative analytical tools may give a more accurate estimate of WMSDs and job risk factors, which would pave way for making more precise recommendations to eliminate the risk factors and thereby prevent WMSDs.
PMCID: PMC4280781  PMID: 25568602
Health care professionals; risk factors; WMSDs
24.  Recognition of physiotherapists’ expertise in Parkinson’s disease 
Publicly available information comparing performance across quality and costs has proliferated in recent years, both about individual healthcare professionals and hospitals. This type of information is now becoming increasingly available for physiotherapists with expertise in Parkinson’s disease (PD). Our study aimed to explore the ability of people with Parkinson’s disease to recognise expertise, and to what extent respondents selectively choose such expert physiotherapists.
We used claim data from the period 2009–2010 to select customers with PD who claimed physiotherapy. A random sample of 500 eligible respondents received a paper-based survey. We used descriptive statistics to compare the respondent characteristics, a qualitative programme to analyse the qualitative items, and univariate and multivariate regression.
Most respondents (89%) took their referring physician’s advice when selecting a physiotherapist, although this advice rarely was supported with arguments. The remaining respondents (11%) searched for comparative performance information about physiotherapists. Respondents who recognised the added value of PD expertise among physiotherapists were 3.28 times as likely to search for comparative performance information as those who did not understand. Respondents were willing to switch to an expert physiotherapist (68%), and this willingness increased if they recognised the value of PD expertise (p < .001).
The participants were able to recognise certain aspects of expertise. Though they showed relatively few signs of selectively choice behaviour for expert physiotherapists. Both respondents and referring professionals need more understanding about the added value of an expert physiotherapist, to foster selective provider choice.
PMCID: PMC4016478  PMID: 24152942
Provider choice; Comparative performance information; Physiotherapy; Expertise; Parkinson’s disease
25.  Chest physiotherapy techniques in neurological intensive care units of India: A survey 
Neurological intensive care units (ICUs) are a rapidly developing sub-specialty of neurosciences. Chest physiotherapy techniques are of great value in neurological ICUs in preventing, halting, or reversing the impairments caused due to neurological disorder and ICU stay. However, chest physiotherapy techniques should be modified to a greater extent in the neurological ICU as compared with general ICUs.
The aim of this study is to obtain data on current chest physiotherapy practices in neurological ICUs of India.
Settings and Design:
A tertiary care hospital in Karnataka, India, and cross-sectional survey.
Subjects and Methods:
A questionnaire was formulated and content validated to assess the current chest physiotherapy practices in neurological ICUs of India. The questionnaire was constructed online and a link was distributed via E-mail to 185 physiotherapists working in neurological ICUs across India.
Statistical Analysis Used:
Descriptive statistics.
The response rate was 44.3% (n = 82); 31% of the physiotherapists were specialized in cardiorespiratory physiotherapy and 30% were specialized in neurological physiotherapy. Clapping, vibration, postural drainage, aerosol therapy, humidification, and suctioning were used commonly used airway clearance (AC) techniques by the majority of physiotherapists. However, devices for AC techniques such as Flutter, Acapella, and standard positive expiratory pressure devices were used less frequently for AC. Techniques such as autogenic drainage and active cycle of breathing technique are also frequently used when appropriate for the patients. Lung expansion therapy techniques such as breathing exercises, incentive spirometry exercises, and positioning, proprioceptive neuromuscular facilitation of breathing are used by majority of physiotherapists.
Physiotherapists in this study were using conventional chest physiotherapy techniques more frequently in comparison to the devices available for AC.
PMCID: PMC4071680  PMID: 24987235
Cardiorespiratory physiotherapy; critical care units; cross-sectional survey; India; neurological intensive care unit; online survey

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