Mindfulness physical therapy, pain management, rehabilitation

Provider Beliefs and Patient Outcomes

Lakke and colleagues examined the role of 2nd year physical therapy student kinesiophobic beliefs on the lifting capacity of healthy participants.1 One hundred twenty-four individuals were tested on a lifting capacity test by PT students with high scores on the Tampa Scale of Kinesiophobia for health care providers (TSK-HC) and 132 were tested by PT students with low scores on the TSK-HC. High scores represent a greater concern for the possibility of back injury with physical activity.

Mean lifting capacity of participants tested by PT students with high kinesiophobic beliefs was 32.1 kg (70.7 lbs) while those tested by PT students with no kinesiophobic beliefs was 39.6 kg (87.3 lbs).

Although this research was conducted with PT students and healthy participants, it suggests physical therapist kinesiophobic beliefs could influence patients’ response to treatment. Authors recommend practitioners be aware of their beliefs and behavior during patient interactions.

This and additional research on this topic has inspired me to more greatly appreciate the role my attitudes and beliefs may play in patient outcomes. Healthcare providers need to be aware that our beliefs about our patients and treatment strategies may impact our patients’ ability to progress. Perhaps our confidence in our patients and our treatment approach helps patients discover confidence in themselves and improves their outcomes.

1Lakke SE, Soer R, Krijnen WP, et al. Influence of Physical Therapist Kinesiophobic Beliefs on Lifting Capacity in Healthy Adults. Phys Ther. 2015;95(9):1224-33.