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Clinical Paper An investigation into how acupuncture is used by physiotherapists to treat overactive bladder in women


Overactive bladder (OAB) is a common problem, but many interventions are often poorly tolerated and unhelpful for some sufferers. Despite there being no supporting guidance, acupuncture is being incorporated into treatments for OAB in some National Health Service trusts. The aim of this study was to investigate: (1) how physiotherapists working within the field of urogynaecology are using acupuncture to treat this patient group; and (2) the outcomes that they are reporting. Nine physiotherapists volunteered to partake in semistructured interviews that were recorded, transcribed, coded and thematically analysed. Acupuncture appeared to be a treatment that gave positive effects for some patients with OAB; however, it was used infrequently and not as a first-line intervention. Lack of guidance, time and confidence were cited as the reasons for this. Point selection generally followed biomedical reasoning principles. Physiotherapists generally appreciated having another intervention option that had no significant side effects, in contrast with many currently available treatments.

Keywords: acupuncture, clinical reasoning, overactive bladder, physiotherapy, women’s health.

Journal Details

Journal Title: POGP Journal - 122 Spring 2018

Issue Date: 15 June 2018

Issue: 122

Pages: 122