A pilot study to compare the views of traditionally trained and CAM-trained therapists using the clinical exemplar of the management of neck/upper limb pain to assess barriers to effective integration of approaches
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Osteopathic Manipulative Treatment
Complement Ther Med. 2012 Feb-Apr;20(1-2):38-44.
Karen Denyer, Helen Smith, Kevin Davies, Rob Horne, Matthew Hankins, Karen Walker-Bone
Background: In the UK, patients frequently choose complementary (CAM) therapies, particularly for chronic painful musculoskeletal conditions. It is widely agreed that better integration of complementary and traditional healthcare is desirable. We piloted the Benefits and Risks of Treatment Questionnaire to compare the views of different healthcare practitioners about traditional and alternative approaches in one clinical scenario in order to assess barriers to effective integration.
Methods: A cross-sectional survey of healthcare practitioners (primary care practitioners, physiotherapists, pharmacists, osteopaths, chiropractors and acupuncturists) in the UK. The views of all healthcare providers were compared using the exemplar of neck, shoulder and upper arm pain to explore the perceived risks and benefits of different types of therapeutic intervention using a mathematical cluster approach.
Results: 448/1254 (36%) useable replies were received representing all six professions. A mean of 14.9 years of experience was reported by participants. The cluster analyses revealed distinct clusters of opinion of benefit: primary care physicians, physiotherapists and pharmacists were significantly more likely to rate a cluster including: anti-inflammatory drugs, steroid injections, steroids, physiotherapy, paracetamol and antidepressants as beneficial for neck, shoulder and upper arm pain. In contrast, osteopaths and chiropractors, but not physiotherapists were significantly more likely to rate a cluster including chiropractic, osteopathy and physiotherapy as beneficial.
Conclusion: The Beliefs about Risks and Benefits of Treatments Questionnaire can be applied using a postal approach and achieves similar response rates to other surveys amongst healthcare practitioners. Despite widespread agreement that increased integration of traditional and alternative approaches is desirable, the results of this study suggest that experienced practitioners show the strongest belief in the benefit of approaches closest to their own training and background and the most wariness of risk to those therapies furthest from their background.