Research: PINCUS and others,

Listed in Issue 149


PINCUS and others, Department of Psychology, Royal Holloway University of London, Egham, Surrey, TW20 0EX, UK,, have surveyed attitudes to back pain amongst Chiropractors, Osteopaths, and Physiotherapists.


Chiropractors, osteopaths and physiotherapists play key roles in the management of low back pain patients in the UK. The aim of this study was to investigate the attitudes of these three professional groups to back pain using a recently developed and validated questionnaire, the Attitudes to Back Pain Scale for musculoskeletal practitioners (ABS-mp).


A cross-sectional questionnaire survey was sent to 300 members of each professional group (n=900).


Responses were analysed from 465 practitioners: 132 chiropractors (28%), 159 osteopaths (34%) and 174 physiotherapists (37%). Overall, all three groups endorse a psychosocial approach to treatment, and see re-activation as a primary goal. However, physiotherapists and osteopaths tend to endorse attitudes towards limiting the number of treatment sessions offered to low back pain patients more than chiropractors, and chiropractors endorse a more biomedical approach than physiotherapists. When practice setting (NHS versus private practice) was considered, physiotherapists working for the NHS endorsed limiting the number of treatment sessions more than those working in the private sector and would also less frequently advise their patients to restrict activities and be vigilant.


These results may help explain current clinical practice patterns observed in these groups of physical health professionals and their uptake of clinical guideline recommendations.


Pincus T, Foster NE, Vogel S, Santos R, Breen A, Underwood M. Attitudes to back pain amongst musculoskeletal practitioners: a comparison of professional groups and practice settings using the ABS-mp. Manual Therapy 12 (2): 167-175, May 2007.

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