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Australian physiotherapists and their engagement with people with chronic pain: do their emotional responses affect practice?

Authors Barlow S, Stevens J

Received 3 December 2013

Accepted for publication 13 February 2014

Published 29 May 2014 Volume 2014:7 Pages 231—237


Checked for plagiarism Yes

Review by Single anonymous peer review

Peer reviewer comments 3

Shelley Barlow, John Stevens

Health and Human Sciences, Southern Cross University, Lismore, NSW, Australia

Abstract: This study explores the experiences of Australian physiotherapists who see people with chronic pain as part of their daily practice. It has been established in the literature that Australian physiotherapists do not manage people with chronic pain well; however, the reasons for this are not well understood. This study aimed to explore this phenomenon through a qualitative approach that generated data about the perceptions of physiotherapists in regard to caring for people with chronic pain. Fourteen physiotherapists were interviewed using a semi-structured interview approach. The results indicate that the therapists experience emotional responses to people with chronic pain, which lead to difficulties in being able to successfully provide effective care. These findings also provide the beginnings of a framework that may support physiotherapists in engaging more successfully with people with chronic pain.

Keywords: physiotherapist perceptions, clinical practice, emotional engagement

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