Which aspects facilitate the adherence of patients with low back pain to physiotherapy? A Delphi study

Andreas Alt, Hannu Luomajoki*, Kerstin Luedtke

*Corresponding author for this work


Background: The effectiveness of physiotherapy to reduce low back pain depends on patient adherence to treatment. Facilitators and barriers to patient adherence are multifactorial and include patient and therapist-related factors. This Delphi study aimed to identify an expert consensus on aspects facilitating the adherence of patients with back pain to physiotherapy. Method: International experts were invited to participate in a three-round standard Delphi survey. The survey contained 49 items (32 original and 17 suggested by experts) which were rated on 5-point Likert scales. The items were assigned to six domains. The consensus level was defined as 60%. Results: Of 38 invited experts, 15 followed the invitation and completed all three rounds. A positive consensus was reached on 62% of the 49 proposed items to facilitate adherence. The highest consensus was achieved in the domains “Influence of biopsychosocial factors” (89%) and “Influence of cooperation between physiotherapists and patients” (79%). Additional important domains were the “Influence of competencies of physiotherapists” (71%) and “Interdisciplinary congruence” (78%). “Administration aspects” and the “Use of digital tools” did not reach expert consensus. Conclusions: Biopsychosocial factors, therapeutic skills, and patient-physiotherapist collaboration should be considered in physiotherapy practice to facilitate adherence in patients with LBP. Future studies should prospectively evaluate the effectiveness of individual or combined identified aspects for their influence on patient adherence in longitudinal study designs.

Original languageEnglish
Article number615
JournalBMC Musculoskeletal Disorders
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 12.2023

Research Areas and Centers

  • Health Sciences

DFG Research Classification Scheme

  • 205-02 Public Health, Health Services Research and Social Medicine

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