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Why do patients with Simple Mechanical Back Pain seek Urgent Care?

Stafford, V and Greenhalgh, S and Davidson, I (2014) Why do patients with Simple Mechanical Back Pain seek Urgent Care? Physiotherapy, 100 (1). pp. 66-72. ISSN 0031-9406

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Abstract

Objective: To explore why patients with simple mechanical back pain seek urgent care. Design: Qualitative Exploratory Inquiry based on the principles of Grounded Theory. Setting: Urgent Care. Methods: Data collection by semi-structured interview. Participants: Eleven patients presenting to urgent care (Accident and emergency, Walk-in Centre and Out of hours service) with back pain. Results: The study identified eight key motivators of patients with mechanical back pain seeking urgent care: (1) GP access, (2) Pain, (3) Function, (4) Something being different, (5) Something being wrong, (6) Desire for investigation, (7) Third Party Influence and (8) Repeat visits. Conclusion: This study provides some evidence to support the notion that patients are willing to use primary care services for the treatment of Simple Mechanical Back Pain but that access is frequently limited and untimely. The study concludes that inappropriate attendances at urgent care facilities are frequently a human response to perception of pain severity which is reinforced by functional loss, uncertainty, the need to provide care for others and the encouragement of others. While it is asserted that there is a clear need for mass education in this area, it is also speculated that attendance at urgent care may occur to overtly escalate the need for assistance and illustrate to sceptical significant others the severity of the condition. © 2013 Chartered Society of Physiotherapy.

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