Context: Our original work addresses the biological sex impact on low back pain (LBP) management and prognosis in primary care settings. To our knowledge, our study is the first in the United States to evaluate the differences in clinicians’ approaches to LBP in the ambulatory setting specifically based on patient gender. Our findings suggest that there is a knowledge gap among primary care providers (PCPs) toward the potential impact of biological sex on LBP and a bias toward gender roles when counseling patients for home chores or occupational tasks. Further evaluation of this knowledge gap and its impact on LBP management and prognosis is recommended in US healthcare settings.
Objectives: This study aims to explore PCP experiences and practice patterns regarding LBP in females compared to males in US healthcare settings.
Methods: We utilized a cross-sectional study design and convenience sampling. Data were collected anonymously utilizing a 27-item online survey sent periodically via email to PCPs working in Ohio. We had 58 responses for analysis; data were analyzed utilizing bivariate and multivariate analyses.
Results: On average, approximately 9 out of 10 responding clinicians reported experiencing LBP. PCPs were not in agreement that LBP is different in women than men. Clinicians with a women’s health, osteopathic, or sport’s medicine background were more likely to agree that LBP is different in women than in men. PCPs were more likely to counsel female patients about pelvic floor exercises; however, their intake of present pelvic symptoms in LBP female patients is suboptimal. PCPs were more likely to counsel females for home chores than males, which is aligned with the perceived traditional gender roles among PCPs.
Conclusions: There may be a knowledge gap among PCPs toward the potential impact of biological sex on LBP and a bias toward gender roles when counseling patients for home chores or occupational tasks. Further investigation of this knowledge gap and counseling approaches is recommended to better bridge the gender disparity.