Beyond pain and disability: an explanatory mixed methods study exploring outcomes after physiotherapy intervention in patients with chronic low back pain

Diogo Pires, Eduardo Brazete Cruz, Daniela Costa, Carla Nunes

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

Purpose: The primary aim of this study was to explore relevant outcome domains for patients with chronic low back pain (CLBP) undergoing physiotherapy. A secondary aim was to examine potential discrepancies between meaningful changes in pain and disability and the global perception of improvement.Methods: An explanatory mixed methods design was employed. Twenty-two patients with CLBP completed self-reported measures before and after a physiotherapy programme. After the intervention, three focus groups were conducted with patients who perceived an overall improvement. Discussions were recorded, transcribed and analysed using thematic analysis.Results: Quantitative analysis showed an inconsistent relationship between changes in pain and disability measures and global improvements as perceived by patients. Two main themes emerged from the thematic analysis: "pain relief" (subthemes: reducing pain intensity and other symptoms; reducing medication intake; improving sleep quality) and "gaining control over the LBP condition" (subthemes: ability to self-manage; return to function; and sense of well-being and normality).Conclusion: Patients with CLBP perceived multiple outcomes from physiotherapy treatment that cover the domains of global, physical, mental and social health. These study findings suggest that the targets of measurement for physiotherapy need to be expanded in order to reflect outcome domains valued by patients.Implications for rehabilitationMinimum important changes in pain intensity and disability were not valid indicators of global improvements as perceived by patients.Patients with chronic low back pain undergoing physiotherapy perceived gains in multiple health domains that ranged beyond pain and disability domains.Physiotherapy outcome assessment needs to integrate other patient-relevant outcomes such as medication intake, sleep quality, ability to self-manage and sense of well-being.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-10
Number of pages10
JournalDisability and Rehabilitation
DOIs
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 24 Jun 2020

Fingerprint Dive into the research topics of 'Beyond pain and disability: an explanatory mixed methods study exploring outcomes after physiotherapy intervention in patients with chronic low back pain'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

  • Cite this