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Many physiotherapists lack preparedness to prescribe physical activity and exercise to people with musculoskeletal pain: A multi-national survey

journal contribution
posted on 2023-10-16, 07:52 authored by Barton, C.J., King, M.G., Dascombe, B., Taylor, N.F., De Oliveira Silva, D., Holden, S., Anthony James GoffAnthony James Goff, Takarangi, K., Shields, N.


Determine physiotherapists’ (i) awareness of physical activity, and exercise prescription guidelines; (ii) perceived role, knowledge, confidence, skills and training in prescribing and progressing aerobic exercise and resistance training to people with musculoskeletal pain; (iii) professional development preferences; and (iv) perceived influences of external factors on exercise prescription for people with musculoskeletal pain.


Multi-national cross-sectional survey.


An open online survey was developed specifically for this study.


1,352 physiotherapists from 56 countries participated. The majority of respondents correctly stated physical activity guidelines for adults (60%) and children (53%), but only 37% correctly stated guidelines for older adults. Eleven percent and 16% could name an accepted guideline for aerobic exercise and resistance training, respectively. Most agreed their role included prescribing aerobic exercise (75%) and resistance training (89%). Fewer reported they had the confidence, training or skills to prescribe aerobic exercise (38–50%) and resistance training (49–70%). Workshops were the most preferred (44%) professional development option. Most respondents believed appointment scheduling and access to equipment and professional development (62–79%) affected their ability to prescribe effective exercise.


Many physiotherapists lack knowledge and training to provide physical activity advice, and to prescribe aerobic exercise and resistance training to people with musculoskeletal pain.


Journal/Conference/Book title

Physical Therapy in Sport

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