Development of an active behavioural physiotherapy intervention (ABPI) for acute whiplash-associated disorder (WAD) II management: a modified Delphi study

Taweewat Wiangkham, Joan Duda, Mohammad Haque, Alison Rushton

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Objective To develop an active behavioural physiotherapy intervention (ABPI) for managing acute whiplash-associated disorder (WAD) II using a modified Delphi method to develop consensus for the basic features of the ABPI.

Design Modified Delphi study. Our systematic review and meta-analysis evaluating conservative management for acute WADII found that a combined ABPI may be a useful intervention to prevent patients progressing to chronicity. No previous research has considered a combined behavioural approach and active physiotherapy in the management of acute WADII patients. The ABPI was therefore developed using a rigorous consensus method using international research and local clinical whiplash experts. Descriptive statistics were used to assess consensus in each round.

Setting Online international survey.

Participants A purposive sample of 97 potential participants (aiming to recruit n=30) consisting of international research whiplash experts, UK private physiotherapists and UK postgraduate musculoskeletal physiotherapy students were invited to participate via electronic mail with an attached participant information sheet and consent form.

Results 36 individuals signed and returned the consent form. In round 1, 32/36 participants (response rate=89%, mean age±SD=36.03±13.22 years) across 8 countries (Australia, Finland, Greece, India, Netherlands, Norway, Sweden and UK) contributed to round 1 questionnaire. Response rates were 78% and 75% for rounds 2 and 3, respectively. Following round 3, 12 underlying principles (eg, return to normal function as soon as possible, pain management, encouragement of self-management, reduce fear avoidance and anxiety) achieved consensus. The treatment components reaching consensus included behavioural (eg, education, reassurance, self-management) and physiotherapy components (eg, exercises for stability and mobility). No passive intervention achieved consensus.

Conclusions Experts suggested and agreed the underlying principles and treatment components of the ABPI for the management of acute WADII. The ABPI was underpinned by social cognitive theory focusing on self-efficacy enhancement prior to conducting a phase II trial.
Original languageEnglish
Article numbere011764
JournalBMJ open
Publication statusPublished - 1 Sept 2016


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