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Evidence-based physiotherapy needs evidence-based marketing
  1. Joshua Robert Zadro1,2,
  2. Mary O’Keeffe1,2,
  3. Christopher G Maher1,2
  1. 1Sydney School of Public Health, Faculty of Medicine and Health, The University of Sydney, Camperdown, New South Wales, Australia
  2. 2Institute for Musculoskeletal Health, Sydney Local Health District, Sydney, New South Wales, Australia
  1. Correspondence to Joshua Robert Zadro, Royal Prince Alfred Hospital, Camperdown, NSW 2050, Australia; jzad3326{at}

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Just over 20 years ago, an editorial titled ‘Now is the time for evidence based physiotherapy’ highlighted the need for high-quality research on the effectiveness of physiotherapy treatments.1 Today, we arguably have sufficient evidence to allow physiotherapists to choose an evidence-based approach to clinical practice. For example, the Physiotherapy Evidence Database (PEDro) indexes nearly 40 000 randomised controlled trials, systematic reviews and clinical practice guidelines. More recently, physiotherapy associations have dramatically increased the marketing of physiotherapy services. This reflects a rapidly expanding workforce and more jurisdictions allowing the public to directly access physiotherapy without the need for medical referral.

Marketing of physiotherapy sometimes draws on evidence but at other times makes claims for physiotherapist roles and services that are not supported by evidence. This could mislead the public and could draw attention away from the strong evidence base within physiotherapy. Consider these examples of marketing from the websites of physiotherapy associations and leading physiotherapy journals from the USA, Australia and UK.

Non–evidence-based marketing

Recent marketing that early physical therapy could help …

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