What is it about?

Physical therapists are one of the leading providers of treatment for people with musculoskeletal conditions, such as back pain, neck pain, and osteoarthritis. However, are physical therapists providing treatment supported by scientific evidence and recommended in clinical practice guidelines? 

Our systematic review of 91 studies found that only 54-63% of physical therapists are providing treatment known to improve patient care for musculoskeletal conditions. In fact, a large percentage of physical therapists provide treatment known not to work (27-43% of physical therapists) or treatment that has not been evaluated scientifically (i.e. treatment of unknown value; 45-81% of physical therapists). 

A large percentage of physical therapists are failing to provide recommended care for musculoskeletal conditions. Physicians referring patients to physical therapy should therefore pay close attention to what treatment physical therapists are providing. As there are now over 42,000 research to guide physical therapy practice, the challenge in physical therapy is applying this evidence to practice. 

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This page is a summary of: Do physical therapists follow evidence-based guidelines when managing musculoskeletal conditions? Systematic review, BMJ Open, October 2019, BMJ,
DOI: 10.1136/bmjopen-2019-032329.
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