​Review highlights evidence for investment in physiotherapy for musculoskeletal conditions

July 9, 2018, National Institute for Health Research

A new report from the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) shows investment in physiotherapy services for musculoskeletal conditions improves patient outcomes and reduces overall healthcare costs.

This themed review brings together more than 30 physiotherapy-related published studies funded by the NIHR and selected studies from other research organisations, which have made a difference to musculoskeletal care in conditions such as rheumatoid arthritis, low back and chronic knee joint pain.

Musculoskeletal conditions are the leading cause of pain and disability in the UK, affecting more than one in four people. The evidence coming out of Moving Forward: Physiotherapy for Musculoskeletal Health and Wellbeing highlights the importance of physiotherapy for treating these conditions.

"This is a wonderful showcase of high quality physiotherapist-led research that is making a difference to the lives of with musculoskeletal conditions," says Nadine Foster, Director of Keele Clinical Trials Unit and NIHR Research Professor of Musculoskeletal Health in Primary Care.

"It provides evidence of the difference that investing in musculoskeletal pain research makes for patients and the NHS."

Physiotherapy is important for preventing and reducing the negative impacts of musculoskeletal . Moving Forward is particularly aimed at physiotherapy staff involved in direct clinical practice but is also relevant to other clinicians in the musculoskeletal care team.

Findings in the NIHR review include:

  • Investment in high quality rehabilitation adapted to individual patient need leads to better outcomes, reduces further investigations and treatment, and reduces costs
  • Physiotherapists offering advice on lower back pain reduced absence from work by an average of around five days.
  • Telephone assessment by physiotherapists meant people waited an average of seven days for contact with a physio, compared to a usual average waiting time of 34 days.
  • A rehabilitation programme including targeted exercise reduced knee joint pain and health care costs.
  • Stretching and strengthening hand exercises improved function for people with rheumatoid arthritis
  • There is overwhelming evidence that exercise and activity are effective and should be a core treatment in musculoskeletal pain. An NIHR review of over 60 trials – most for knee osteoarthritis – showed clear benefit of exercise

"This review brings together important current and impactful research, giving clear direction to patients, physiotherapists, researchers, commissioners and planners of services," says Karen Middleton, Chief Executive of the Chartered Society of Physiotherapy.

"There are still challenges ahead, not least the long gap between the funding research and its impact on practice and patient care. We need clinicians and researchers to work more effectively together, for clinicians to be open to new ideas and new ways of working."

Explore further: Myth that persistent musculoskeletal pain with no obvious cause can be cured

More information: Moving Forward - Physiotherapy for Musculoskeletal Health and Wellbeing. www.dc.nihr.ac.uk/themed-revie … ng-Forward-Final.pdf

Related Stories

Myth that persistent musculoskeletal pain with no obvious cause can be cured

June 25, 2018
It's a myth that most persistent musculoskeletal pain with no obvious cause can be cured, argue experts in an editorial published online in the British Journal of Sports Medicine.

Conditions like back pain and arthritis must have global health response

May 8, 2018
International experts, led by Curtin University, are calling for global action from health authorities to address the huge burden of musculoskeletal conditions, which affect about one in three people worldwide, including ...

Patients who receive prescription opioids are more satisfied with care than other patients

January 9, 2018
Patients with musculoskeletal conditions who receive prescription opioids are more satisfied with their care than comparable patients who do not receive opioids. In a study of nationally representative data, 13 percent (2,564) ...

Telephone physiotherapy reduces waiting times and provides equally good patient results

January 29, 2013
A physiotherapy service based on initial telephone assessment has the ability to provide faster access to the service and cut waiting times, a study published today in BMJ suggests.

Less physical therapy can be just as effective

September 20, 2017
The queues for treatment with physiotherapists in Norwegian municipal clinics are often long. Perhaps unnecessarily long. It's a scenario that is probably true across the Western world.

Osteoarthritis improved by extra physiotherapy programmes

July 24, 2013
Aanual physiotherapy or regular exercise programmes make a significant difference for people with painful osteoarthritis in the knee and hip joints, and are cost-effective, new research from the University of Otago shows.

Recommended for you

Juul e-cigarettes pose addiction risk for young users, study finds

October 19, 2018
Teens and young adults who use Juul brand e-cigarettes are failing to recognize the product's addictive potential, despite using it more often than their peers who smoke conventional cigarettes, according to a new study by ...

Adding refined fiber to processed food could have negative health effects

October 19, 2018
Adding highly refined fiber to processed foods could have negative effects on human health, such as promoting liver cancer, according to a new study by researchers at Georgia State University and the University of Toledo.

Self-lubricating latex could boost condom use: study

October 17, 2018
A perpetually unctuous, self-lubricating latex developed by a team of scientists in Boston could boost the use of condoms, they reported Wednesday in the journal Royal Society Open Science.

How healthy will we be in 2040?

October 17, 2018
A new scientific study of forecasts and alternative scenarios for life expectancy and major causes of death in 2040 shows all countries are likely to experience at least a slight increase in lifespans. In contrast, one scenario ...

Adequate consumption of 'longevity' vitamins could prolong healthy aging, nutrition scientist says

October 16, 2018
A detailed new review of nutritional science argues that most American diets are deficient in a key class of vitamins and minerals that play previously unrecognized roles in promoting longevity and in staving off chronic ...

Study finds evidence of intergenerational transmission of trauma among ex-POWs from the Civil War

October 16, 2018
A trio of researchers affiliated with the National Bureau of Economic Research has found evidence that suggests men who were traumatized while POWs during the U.S. Civil War transmitted that trauma to their offspring—many ...

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.