Attitudes to back pain amongst musculoskeletal practitioners: a comparison of professional groups and practice settings using the ABS-mp

Man Ther. 2007 May;12(2):167-75. doi: 10.1016/j.math.2006.06.005. Epub 2006 Aug 17.


Chiropractors, osteopaths and physiotherapists play key roles in the management of low back pain (LBP) patients in the UK. We investigated 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 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 LBP patients more than chiropractors, and chiropractors endorse a more biomedical approach than physiotherapists. When practice setting (NHS versus private practice) was considered (in physiotherapists alone), 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. The results may help explain current clinical practice patterns observed in these groups and their uptake of clinical guideline recommendations.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Age Factors
  • Attitude of Health Personnel*
  • Chiropractic / methods*
  • Clinical Competence
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Female
  • Health Care Surveys
  • Humans
  • Interprofessional Relations
  • Low Back Pain / diagnosis
  • Low Back Pain / rehabilitation*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Osteopathic Medicine / methods*
  • Outcome Assessment, Health Care
  • Physical Therapy Specialty / methods*
  • Practice Patterns, Physicians'*
  • Probability
  • Risk Factors
  • Sensitivity and Specificity
  • Severity of Illness Index
  • Sex Factors
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • United Kingdom