Trends in availability and usage of biophysical agents among physical therapists in the United States


Journal Article

© 2018, © 2018 Informa UK Limited, trading as Taylor & Francis Group. Background: Biophysical agents (BPA) are adjuncts to care plans prescribed by physical therapists to patients in clinic. Recent statements by the American Physical Therapy Association caution usage of certain BPAs. Currently, information is lacking as to which BPAs are available and utilized in physical therapy settings in the United States, rationale for inclusion of BPAs in patient care plans and perceptions of importance of inclusion in a DPT curriculum. Objectives: A survey was sent out to 520 physical therapists in the United States (response rate 25%) Major Findings: Over 80% of respondents reported access to BPAs and of those, 92% used BPAs with patients. The most commonly used BPAs were cold packs, hot packs, and varied applications of electrical stimulation, while mechanical compression and diathermy were least frequently used. The most common rationale for BPA use was prior positive experience. Respondents’ perceptions of importance of inclusion of specific BPAs in a DPT curriculum mirrored some of the clinical usage patterns found in this study. Conclusions: BPAs are widely available and utilized in physical therapy practice in the United States. Rationale for clinician use of BPAs includes both prior positive experience- and evidence-based practice. Results from this study suggest the importance of BPAs in DPT curriculum to ensure safe and appropriate use.

Full Text

Duke Authors

Cited Authors

  • Greco, JL; Lamberg, EM; McKenna, RF; Muratori, LM

Published Date

  • March 4, 2018

Published In

Volume / Issue

  • 23 / 2

Start / End Page

  • 116 - 123

Electronic International Standard Serial Number (EISSN)

  • 1743-288X

International Standard Serial Number (ISSN)

  • 1083-3196

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)

  • 10.1080/10833196.2018.1449921

Citation Source

  • Scopus