Physiotherapists and Use of Low Back Pain Guidelines: A Qualitative Study of the Barriers and Facilitators

  • Anne-Marie Côté
  • Marie-José Durand
  • Michel Tousignant
  • Stéphane Poitras


Introduction A new set of clinical practice guidelines (CPGs) for the management of low back pain (LBP) and prevention of persistent disability entitled “Clinic on Low back pain in Interdisciplinary Practice” (CLIP) was developed in the province of Quebec, Canada. The literature shows that simply disseminating CPGs does not necessarily lead to their adoption by clinicians. To improve adherence to CPGs among healthcare professionals, the literature suggests that there is a need to identify and address the factors impeding or facilitating their use. The aim of this study was therefore to identify the barriers to and facilitators of CLIP CPG use, as perceived by physiotherapists (PTs). Methods A descriptive study using a qualitative method was conducted with a sample of 16 PTs from a variety of professional backgrounds. Each participant used the CPGs over a 6-week period with two patients suffering from LBP, and then participated in a semi-structured interview in which he or she was asked to identify the barriers and facilitators experienced. Results The participating PTs identified many barriers and facilitators pertaining to the guidelines themselves, the users and the environment. Four key nodes emerged from these barriers and facilitators during data analysis. It appears that the clinicians’ understanding of the CPGs, the level of compatibility between their practices and the CLIP CPG recommendations, the level of CPG relevance as perceived by the clinicians, and their level of agreement with the CPGs, all affected their use of the guidelines. Conclusions In order to increase CLIP CPG use, the implementation strategy to be developed should take into account the barriers and facilitators that were identified in this study.


Implementation Guidelines Physiotherapy Evidence-based practice Knowledge transfer Low back pain 



This study was supported by a grant from the Quebec Rehabilitation Research Network.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  • Anne-Marie Côté
    • 1
  • Marie-José Durand
    • 1
    • 2
  • Michel Tousignant
    • 1
    • 3
  • Stéphane Poitras
    • 4
  1. 1.School of Rehabilitation, Faculty of Medicine and Health SciencesUniversité de SherbrookeSherbrookeCanada
  2. 2.Centre for Action in Work Disability Prevention and RehabilitationLongueuilCanada
  3. 3.Research Center on AgingSherbrookeCanada
  4. 4.School of Rehabilitation Sciences, Faculty of Health SciencesUniversity of OttawaOttawaCanada

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