Managing time: an interpretative phenomenological analysis of patients' and physiotherapists' perceptions of adherence to therapeutic exercise for low back pain

Disabil Rehabil. 2005 Jun 3;27(11):625-36. doi: 10.1080/0963820500030449.


Purpose: Physiotherapy for low back pain (LBP) includes exercise therapy. Unfortunately adherence is problematic. This study explores patients' and physiotherapists' perceptions of exercise adherence.

Method: Nine LBP patients and eight physiotherapists were interviewed. Interpretative Phenomenological Analysis (IPA) was used to explore transcript data.

Results: The main theme 'managing time', reveals how pressure on time reflects society's view of time as a commodity. Theme components include 'the bargaining process': physiotherapists spend time listening, exploring patient beliefs, but modify patients' expectations of quick cures with the need to own their back care. 'Reviewing the future' identifies fears about long-term disability, highlighting the importance of recovery time knowledge.

Conclusions: Interpreting participants' stories illustrates how investing in routine exercise could help re-interpret LBP as part of everyday life.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Exercise Therapy*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Low Back Pain / rehabilitation*
  • Male
  • Patient Compliance*
  • Physical Therapy Specialty
  • Physician-Patient Relations
  • Time