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Will shared decision making between patients with chronic musculoskeletal pain and physiotherapists, osteopaths and chiropractors improve patient care?

Will shared decision making between patients with chronic musculoskeletal pain and physiotherapists, osteopaths and chiropractors improve patient care?

Family Practice 29(2): 203-212

Chronic musculoskeletal pain (CMP) is treated in primary care by a wide range of health professionals including chiropractors, osteopaths and physiotherapists. To explore patients and chiropractors, osteopaths and physiotherapists' beliefs about CMP and its treatment and how these beliefs influenced care seeking and ultimately the process of care. Depth interviews with a purposive sample of 13 CMP patients and 19 primary care health professionals (5 osteopaths, 4 chiropractors and 10 physiotherapists). Patients' models of their CMP evolved throughout the course of their condition. Health professionals' models also evolved throughout the course of their treatment of patients. A key influence on patients' consulting behaviour appeared to be finding someone who would legitimate their suffering and their condition. Health professionals also recognized patients' need for legitimation but often found that attempts to explore psychological factors, which may be influencing their pain could be construed by patients as delegitimizing. Patients developed and tailored their consultation strategies throughout their illness career but not always in a strategic fashion. Health professionals also reflected on how patients' developing knowledge and changing beliefs altered their expectations. Therefore, overall within our analysis, we identified three themes: 'the evolving nature of patients and health professionals models of understanding CMP'; 'legitimating suffering' and 'development and tailoring of consultation and treatment strategies throughout patients' illness careers'. Seeking care for any condition is not static but a process particularly for long-term conditions such as CMP. This may need to be taken into account by both CMP patients and their treating health professionals, in that both should not assume that their views about causation and treatment are static and that instead they should be revisited on a regular basis. Adopting a shared decision-making approach to treatment may be useful particularly for long-term conditions; however, in some cases, this may be easier said than done due to both patients' and health professionals' sometimes discomfort with adopting such an approach. Training and support for both health professionals and patients may be helpful in facilitating a shared decision-making approach.

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Accession: 056950635

Download citation: RISBibTeXText

PMID: 21982810

DOI: 10.1093/fampra/cmr083

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