Doctors’ attitudes and beliefs regarding acute low back pain management: A systematic review

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Abstract

The aim of this systematic review was to determine the attitudes and beliefs of doctors to acute low back pain, and the factors that influence these. The review comprised three phases: a methodological assessment of databases (Medline, EMBASE, Psychinfo, BIOSIS, CINAHL, and the Cochrane Central Register of Controlled Trials) identified potential papers; these were screened for inclusion criteria by two independent reviewers, the extraction of data and the rating of internal validity and strength of the evidence, using valid and reliable scales from accepted papers. Themes were then identified from the accepted literature. The search generated a total of 15 papers of both qualitative (n = 3) and quantitative (n = 12) methodologies. Themes that emerged included doctors’ attitudes and beliefs, and four factors that influenced attitudes and beliefs: doctors’ specialty, demographic factors, personal beliefs and education. There was consistent evidence that doctors’ specialty impacted their attitudes and beliefs: lack of consensus regarding the natural history of LBP, around treatment options, and issues regarding work. There was inconsistent evidence that demographic factors (age) and level of education impacted doctors’ attitudes and beliefs. Strategies to address/ modify these attitudes and beliefs are required, as in some cases they are at odds with guideline recommendations. Long term, these changes in these areas have the potential to maximise patient-care, and reduce costs to health services.

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