BACKGROUND: Lower urinary tract symptoms (LUTS) may be a relevant comorbidity when managing people with low back or pelvic girdle pain. It is unknown how often physiotherapists inquire about LUTS, and what the potential barriers and facilitators are to inquire about LUTS in this patient population.
OBJECTIVE: To explore the frequency of inquiring about LUTS, and to identify the barriers and facilitators among physiotherapists with and without additional pelvic health training to ask for LUTS in people with low back or pelvic girdle pain.
DESIGN: A qualitative study using thematic analysis.
METHODS: Through purposeful sampling, 29 primary care physiotherapists were interviewed (16 physiotherapists and 13 physiotherapists with additional pelvic health training). Thematic analysis was performed to identify themes regarding facilitators and barriers.
FINDINGS: The frequency of inquiring about LUTS was: 'never': 10%, 'sometimes': 38%, and 'always': 52%. Four barriers were identified: (1) lack of knowledge of the physiotherapist, (2) a standardised assessment approach which did not include LUTS, (3) patient expectations assumed by the physiotherapist, and (4) social, cultural and personal barriers. Three facilitators were identified: (1) communication skills and experience of the physiotherapist, (2) education and knowledge, and (3) interprofessional consultation and referral.
CONCLUSION: The majority of physiotherapists surveyed in this study regularly asked for LUTS in people with low back or pelvic pain. For when not asked, the identified barriers seem modifiable with adequate training, knowledge and skill acquisition, and sound clinical reasoning.