Objective: In various countries, patients can visit a physiotherapist via self-referral. The aims of this study were to evaluate whether there are differences between individuals with nonspecific neck pain who consult a manual therapist via self-referral and those who do so via referral by a physician concerning patient characteristics, number of treatments, and recovery; and whether (self-)referral is associated with recovery. Methods: This study is part of a prospective cohort study with posttreatment and 12-month follow-up in a Dutch manual-therapy setting. Adult patients with nonspecific neck pain were eligible for participation. Baseline measurements included demographic data and data concerning neck pain. At follow-up, number of treatments, recovery, and satisfaction were assessed. To evaluate differences between the groups, we used the χ2 test and the independent t test. A logistic regression analysis was used to evaluate the association between referral status and recovery. Results: In total, 272 manual therapists participated and 1311 patients were included. Of 831 patients whose referral data are available, about half patients consulted a manual therapist by self-referral. The mean number of treatments was 5.4, which did not differ between the 2 groups. We found no differences between the groups concerning age, sex, pain intensity at baseline, or recovery rate. Patients in the self-referral group experienced acute neck pain more frequently, had recurrent complaints more often, and reported less disability compared to the referred group. Referral status was not associated with recovery. Conclusion: We found several small differences between self-referred and referred patients.

Additional Metadata
Keywords Neck Pain, Referral and Consultation
Persistent URL dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.jmpt.2019.10.008, hdl.handle.net/1765/129862
Journal Journal of Manipulative and Physiological Therapeutics
Citation
Mutsaers, B.J. (Bert J.), Janssen, F.J.F. (Floris J.F.), Koes, B.W, Pool-Goudswaard, A. (Annelies), & Verhagen, A.P. (2020). Differences in Patient Characteristics, Number of Treatments, and Recovery Rates Between Referred and Self-referred Patients With Nonspecific Neck Pain in Manual Therapy: A Secondary Analysis. Journal of Manipulative and Physiological Therapeutics. doi:10.1016/j.jmpt.2019.10.008