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Physical Therapy Treatments for Chronic Non-Cancer Pain: A Review of Guidelines

Last updated: November 10, 2016
Project Number: RC0822-000
Product Line: Rapid Response
Research Type: Devices and Systems
Report Type: Summary with Critical Appraisal
Result type: Report


  1. What are the evidence-based guidelines regarding the use of physical therapy interventions for chronic non-cancer pain in adult patients?

Key Message

Eleven evidence-based guidelines included recommendations about the use of physical therapy interventions for the management of chronic, non-cancer pain. Overall, guidelines supported the use of physical and exercise therapy, manual therapy (i.e. spinal manipulation therapy and mobilization techniques), acupuncture, massage, and yoga. However, guidelines were typically limited with respect to the optimal frequency and duration of treatment and sometimes provided contradictory recommendations. Criteria for determining when continued treatment was warranted were generally lacking.