Patients' and primary healthcare professionals' perceptions regarding chronic low back pain and its management in Spain: a qualitative study
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Purpose: This study aimed to explore and compare the perceptions of patients and primary healthcare professionals regarding the management of chronic low back pain. Methods: Qualitative study using 26 semi-structured individual interviews, and one discussion group, carried out in primary care in Lleida, Spain. Results: Patients and primary healthcare professionals both had assumptions pertaining to: 1) the diagnosis and meaning of chronic low back pain, 2) expectations regarding treatment for pain reduction, and 3) communication between primary healthcare professionals and patients with chronic low back pain. Results suggest a mutual dissatisfaction with the diagnosis of chronic low back pain and a lack of understanding between primary healthcare professionals and patients. Some contradictions between them were also noted: the patients wanted quick solutions to reduce their pain, but the primary healthcare professionals required an accurate etiology to prescribe treatment, and the patients did not always follow the primary healthcare professionals' recommendations. Conclusions: Diagnosing and treating chronic low back pain is compromised due to differing expectations and the communication barriers that exist between healthcare professionals and their patients. Primary healthcare professionals should be aware of the power of their explanations and recommendations to patients.