Background: Back pain affects a substantial proportion of the adult population, and back pain sufferers tend to explore a wide range of health care options. This study investigates the use of medical and physiotherapy services by Australian women with back pain.
Method: This is a sub-study of the Australian Longitudinal Study on Women's Health (ALSWH), designed to investigate multiple factors affecting the health and well-being of women over a 20-year period. The study focuses on 1,851 women aged 59-64 years, who had indicated that they had previously sought help from a health care practitioner for back pain.
Results: Half of the women (56.5%) with back pain had consulted a general practitioner (GP), 16.2% had consulted a medical specialist, and 37.3% had consulted a physiotherapist for their back pain. Women with regular or continuous back pain were more likely to consult a GP (OR=3.98), medical specialist (OR=5.66) and a physiotherapist (OR=1.63).
Conclusion: Australian women with back pain were more likely to consult a GP, medical specialist or physiotherapist if they had more regular/continuous back pain. Future research needs to investigate further the consultation and referral patterns identified in this study.
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