Physiotherapists and use of low back pain guidelines: a qualitative study of the barriers and facilitators

J Occup Rehabil. 2009 Mar;19(1):94-105. doi: 10.1007/s10926-009-9167-2. Epub 2009 Feb 14.


Introduction: A new set of clinical practice guidelines (CPGs) for the management of low back pain (LBP) and prevention of persistent disability entitled "Clinic on Low back pain in Interdisciplinary Practice" (CLIP) was developed in the province of Quebec, Canada. The literature shows that simply disseminating CPGs does not necessarily lead to their adoption by clinicians. To improve adherence to CPGs among healthcare professionals, the literature suggests that there is a need to identify and address the factors impeding or facilitating their use. The aim of this study was therefore to identify the barriers to and facilitators of CLIP CPG use, as perceived by physiotherapists (PTs).

Methods: A descriptive study using a qualitative method was conducted with a sample of 16 PTs from a variety of professional backgrounds. Each participant used the CPGs over a 6-week period with two patients suffering from LBP, and then participated in a semi-structured interview in which he or she was asked to identify the barriers and facilitators experienced.

Results: The participating PTs identified many barriers and facilitators pertaining to the guidelines themselves, the users and the environment. Four key nodes emerged from these barriers and facilitators during data analysis. It appears that the clinicians' understanding of the CPGs, the level of compatibility between their practices and the CLIP CPG recommendations, the level of CPG relevance as perceived by the clinicians, and their level of agreement with the CPGs, all affected their use of the guidelines.

Conclusions: In order to increase CLIP CPG use, the implementation strategy to be developed should take into account the barriers and facilitators that were identified in this study.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Guideline Adherence
  • Humans
  • Low Back Pain / rehabilitation*
  • Physical Therapy Specialty
  • Practice Guidelines as Topic
  • Qualitative Research
  • Surveys and Questionnaires