Background: It has been suggested that health care professional (HCP) attitudes and beliefs may negatively influence the beliefs of patients with low back pain (LBP), but this has not been systematically reviewed. This review aimed to investigate the association between HCP attitudes and beliefs and the attitudes and beliefs, clinical management, and outcomes of this patient population.
Methods: Electronic databases were systematically searched for all types of studies. Studies were selected by predefined inclusion criteria. Methodological quality was appraised and strength of evidence was determined.
Results: Seventeen studies from eight countries which investigated the attitudes and beliefs of general practitioners, physiotherapists, chiropractors, rheumatologists, orthopaedic surgeons and other paramedical therapists were included. There is strong evidence that HCP beliefs about back pain are associated with the beliefs of their patients. There is moderate evidence that HCPs with a biomedical orientation or elevated fear avoidance beliefs are more likely to advise patients to limit work and physical activities, and are less likely to adhere to treatment guidelines. There is moderate evidence that HCP attitudes and beliefs are associated with patient education and bed rest recommendations. There is moderate evidence that HCP fear avoidance beliefs are associated with reported sick leave prescription and that a biomedical orientation is not associated with the number of sickness certificates issued for LBP.
Conclusion: HCPs need to be aware of the association between their attitudes and beliefs and the attitudes and beliefs and clinical management of their patients with LBP.
© 2011 European Federation of International Association for the Study of Pain Chapters.