Recommendations on patient-facing websites regarding diagnostic imaging for low back, knee, and shoulder pain: A scoping review

Andrew Cuff*, Thomas Jesson, Gillian Yeowell, Lisa Dikomitis, Nadine Foster, CHRIS LITTLEWOOD

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle (journal)peer-review

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To describe and synthesise the content of public-facing websites regarding the use of diagnostic imaging for adults with lower back pain, knee, and shoulder pain.

Scoping review conducted in accordance with PRISMA guidance. A Google search was performed to identify public-facing websites that were either United Kingdom-based, or National Health Service affiliated. The DISCERN tool was used to appraise website quality before information regarding the use of imaging was synthesised using thematic analysis.

Eighty-six websites were included, with 48 making reference to the use of imaging. The information within the majority (n = 43) of public-facing websites aligns with best available evidence. Where there is inconsistency, this may be explained by lower website quality. Three themes were apparent regarding the use of imaging – imaging to inform diagnosis and management; imaging in context; patient experience and expectations.

The recommendations and rationale for use of imaging contained within public-facing websites does not appear to justify the increase in imaging rates for musculoskeletal pain in the UK.

Publicly available information following a novel search strategy, is largely aligned with best evidence, further understanding is required to determine reasons for requesting imaging from a patient and clinician perspective.
Original languageEnglish
JournalPEC Innovation
Early online date19 Apr 2022
Publication statusPublished - 2022


  • Shoulder Pain
  • Low Back Pain
  • Knee Pain
  • Diagnostic Imaging


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