UK leads first international physiotherapy guidance

Physiotherapists from the UK have led the development of the first international physiotherapy clinical guidance document.

The groundbreaking document provides a clinical reasoning framework that advises on best practice in assessing patients with neck and head pain.

The framework addresses the correct use of evidence-based interventions, such as manipulation or exercise prescription, that have previously been associated with stroke and other pathologies. In particular, it focuses on screening for the risks associated with cervical arterial dysfunction.

Alison Rushton, a senior lecturer in physiotherapy at the University of Birmingham, led the framework’s international development group.

Roger Kerry, associate professor of physiotherapy education at the University of Nottingham, was also on the group.

‘The launch of this document is an extremely exciting and important world-changing occasion which has been led by the UK,’ said Professor Kerry.

‘There are trusts in the UK that have banned some forms of physiotherapy for treating people’s neck pain and parts of Canada have also banned manipulation – but this framework could change the political landscape of service commissioning.’

The framework has been approved by the International Federation of Orthopaedic Manipulative Physical Therapists (IFOMPT), an organisation that sets standards for international practice in musculoskeletal physiotherapy and is backed by the World Health Organization.

The document took five years to create, during which it was reviewed and monitored by IFOMPT member organisations from more than 22 countries.

The document’s full title is: International Framework for Examination of the Cervical Region for potential of Cervical Arterial Dysfunction prior to Orthopaedic Manual Therapy Intervention.

To view it online, visit:

Robert Millett

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