Patients’ perceptions of self-management of chronic low back pain: evidence for enhancing patient education and support

Kay Cooper, Blair H. Smith, Elizabeth Hancock

The objective of this study was to explore the extent to which physiotherapy facilitated chronic low back pain (CLBP) patients to self-manage following discharge, and to explore patients’ perceptions of their need for self-management interventions or support and their preferences in terms of delivery.  Twenty-five participants who had received physiotherapy for CLBP within the previous 6 months were included. Adoption of self-management strategies was not achieved consistently in this group of participants. There was a strongly perceived need for self-management support following discharge from physiotherapy. Exercises were reportedly the most common self-management strategy in use. However, it was common for participants to perceive that physiotherapy had little influence on their CLBP management following discharge.

These results suggest that CLBP patients could be better facilitated to manage their condition. Providing self-management education in addition to the patient information and education provided traditionally, and providing self-management support in the form of direct access and/or review appointments or telephone calls is worthy of further investigation in this patient group.

Physiotherapy, 95(1), 43-50

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