Utilisation and Experience of Emergency Medical Services by patients with Back Pain: A scoping Review Protocol

Matt Capsey, Cormac Ryan, Emma Giles, Sharon Hamilton, Jill Quinn, Denis Martin

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Emergency Medical Services are those that provide care without an appointment, usually 24 hours a day, such as Emergency Departments and Ambulance Services. Demand on these services has been growing internationally over the last few decades. Attempts to manage this demand is increasingly focusing on conditions that are considered primary care appropriate. Conditions where it is considered that patients' needs and expectations can be better met in primary care rather than emergency care. Whilst there are presentations of back pain that are medical emergencies, non-specific back pain is increasingly recognised as a condition that can be effectively managed in primary care through established guidelines. In many cases standard care provided in emergency departments for medically significant back pain is of low value to those with non-specific back pain. Despite this we know little about the prevalence of patients presenting with back pain, where they present or what their expectations are. The care patients receive, and the perceptions of emergency medical staff, will impact on meeting patients' needs and expectations. The objective of this scoping review is to explore the existing literature regarding use of emergency medical services by patients with back pain, to examine and conceptually map the evidence, and to identify any gaps in the literature.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)30-36
Number of pages7
JournalPain and Rehabilitation: The Journal of the Physiotherapy Pain Association
Issue number49
Publication statusPublished - 31 Jul 2020


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