Differences in Patient Characteristics, Number of Treatments, and Recovery Rates Between Referred and Self-referred Patients With Nonspecific Neck Pain in Manual Therapy: A Secondary Analysis

Bert J. Mutsaers, Floris J.F. Janssen, Bart W. Koes, Annelies Pool-Goudzwaard, Arianne P. Verhagen*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to JournalArticleAcademicpeer-review

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Abstract

Objective: In various countries, patients can visit a physiotherapist via self-referral. The aims of this study were to evaluate whether there are differences between individuals with nonspecific neck pain who consult a manual therapist via self-referral and those who do so via referral by a physician concerning patient characteristics, number of treatments, and recovery; and whether (self-)referral is associated with recovery. Methods: This study is part of a prospective cohort study with posttreatment and 12-month follow-up in a Dutch manual-therapy setting. Adult patients with nonspecific neck pain were eligible for participation. Baseline measurements included demographic data and data concerning neck pain. At follow-up, number of treatments, recovery, and satisfaction were assessed. To evaluate differences between the groups, we used the χ2 test and the independent t test. A logistic regression analysis was used to evaluate the association between referral status and recovery. Results: In total, 272 manual therapists participated and 1311 patients were included. Of 831 patients whose referral data are available, about half patients consulted a manual therapist by self-referral. The mean number of treatments was 5.4, which did not differ between the 2 groups. We found no differences between the groups concerning age, sex, pain intensity at baseline, or recovery rate. Patients in the self-referral group experienced acute neck pain more frequently, had recurrent complaints more often, and reported less disability compared to the referred group. Referral status was not associated with recovery. Conclusion: We found several small differences between self-referred and referred patients.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)559-565
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Manipulative and Physiological Therapeutics
Volume43
Issue number6
Early online date26 Aug 2020
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Aug 2020

Keywords

  • Neck Pain
  • Referral and Consultation

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