Acupuncturists' perspectives on outcome measures to evaluate acupuncture care for chronic low back pain.Complement Ther Med. 2010 Feb; 18(1):28-41.CT
To examine Australian acupuncturists' perspectives of: chronic low back pain outcome domains; their use of outcome measures to assess chronic low back pain; and their attitudes and perceptions of barriers to using the existing measures to evaluate acupuncture care for chronic low back pain.
A postal questionnaire was used in a cross-sectional survey.
359 randomly selected Australian acupuncturists.
139 questionnaires were returned (response rate: 38.7%). The respondents' demographic characteristics were similar to Australian Bureau of Statistics acupuncturist demographic data. Overall, acupuncturists endorsed a broad approach to assessing acupuncture care for chronic low back pain. However, they had typically used pain severity measures but generally did not use other types of measures. Acupuncturists tended to hold positive attitudes towards using outcome measures. The principal barriers acupuncturists perceived to using outcome measures concerned doubts about whether the concepts which underpin acupuncture practice had been explicitly articulated and whether the available measures capture the specific context and particular outcomes of acupuncture care for chronic low back pain.
The findings of this study suggest that a broad range of outcome measures are required to adequately assess chronic low back pain acupuncture care outcomes. While numerous outcome measures have been developed that are relevant to chronic low back pain care, whether these measures are appropriate for use by acupuncturists is unclear. Further studies are warranted to explore if established outcome measures are useful to evaluate chronic low back acupuncture care.