A recent study surveyed accredited physical therapy (PT) schools, examining their thoughts about the adequacy of pain management education among their students. According to a news release from the American Pain Society, the results suggest that 2 out of 3 accredited PT schools surveyed believe their students receive adequate education in pain management.

The results appear in The Journal of Painthe peer-reviewed publication of the American Pain Society.

During the study, the release notes that University of Iowa and Marquette University researchers developed a survey to determine the levels of pain education offered in current doctorate of PT schools in the US. The survey was comprised of 10 questions, addressing whether pain education covered basic science mechanisms and concepts about pain, pain assessment, pain management, and adequacy of pain curriculum. The survey was intended to assess how pain was integrated into the curriculum, the amount of time spent on pain, and resources used to teach pain.

The survey’s results suggest that 63% of responding PT schools believed their students received adequate instruction in pain management. Yet, the release says the majority of schools that responded to the survey (140/167) stated they have designated blocks of time to address pain, and these blocks are integrated throughout the curriculum. The results add that almost all of the responding programs (99%) teach pain intensity rating scales and 83% teach pain-specific questionnaires or rating scales.

Kathleen Sluka, PT, PhD, professor, study co-author, department of Physical Therapy and Rehabilitation Science, University of Iowa, explains that while the survey shows PTs are making strides in pain education, “there still is large variability in what is offered across programs. We believe inclusion of pain specific content in all PT programs is critical to providing future physical therapists with the skills to adequately treat those with acute and chronic pain.”

Source(s): Newswise, American Pain Society