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Free Content A Qualitative Exploration of Experiences of Physiotherapy Among People with Fibromyalgia in the United Kingdom

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Introduction: Fibromyalgia is a common condition characterized by widespread pain and debilitating symptoms. It is a complex, varied and unpredictable condition, which can frustrate and complicate the relationship between patient and practitioner. There is currently little evidence regarding fibromyalgia patients' perspectives on physiotherapy in the United Kingdom (UK).
Objective: To investigate the experiences of physiotherapy from the perspective of people with fibromyalgia in the UK.
Methods: A UK-based mixed-methods survey gathered broad-ranging data from 941 people in the UK with fibromyalgia, regarding living and working with, and being diagnosed and treated for the condition. Qualitative data regarding experiences of physiotherapy were extracted from the full survey dataset, which included responses from 205 participants.
Results: Thematic analysis generated two themes, each with two subthemes. "Access to the Physiotherapist: 'The Long and the Short of It'" had subthemes of "The Long: Delayed diagnosis, referral and access" and "The Short: A few physiotherapy sessions are not enough". "The Experience of Physiotherapy: Care on whose terms?" included subthemes of "Physiotherapist as 'Expert'" and "Patient as Partner".
Conclusion: Physiotherapy characterized by understanding and respect was experienced more positively than inflexible, 'expert' approaches. Findings suggest implications for emotional responses, communication skills and practitioner training.
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Keywords: FIBROMYALGIA; PATIENT PERSPECTIVES; PHYSIOTHERAPY; QUALITATIVE; SURVEY

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: December 1, 2019

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  • Pain and Rehabilitation is a peer-reviewed, Bi-annual journal of the Physiotherapy Pain Association and special interest group of the Chartered Society of Physiotherapy. The journal comprises a range of different articles types from orignial articles to systematic reviews and letters around the topic of pain and rehabilitation. The journal is multidisciplinary in its focus and welcomes submissions from all professionals working in this multidisciplinary field. the abstract of all articles will be freely avilable online. Full text articles are available free online to members of the Physiotherapy Pain Association, and access to individual PDF articles can be purchased by non members.
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