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What does Google tell us about back pain and the different professions?

Google back painWhen people are in pain, they go online.  Working with Google Adwords, I decided to look at the search volume and see whether the search patterns revealed anything interesting about what people are looking for.

I began by taking the three main professions which treat musculoskeletal conditions: physiotherapists, osteopaths and chiropractors and then I looked at the search volume for specific conditions.

Google displays results in two columns, the first, for the world and the second, local to where you are – in this case the UK.  Here are the results:

Keyword

Global

UK

physiotherapist

1,500,000

368,000

physiotherapy clinic

60,500

18,100

chiropractor

2,740,000

165,000

chiropractic clinic

74,000

14,800

osteopath

1,220,000

135,000

osteopathy clinic

9,900

4,400

back pain

2,740,000

368,000

low back pain

673,000

90,500

herniated disc

368,000

27,100

slipped disc

165,000

22,200

sciatica

1,000,000

135,000

neck pain

550,000

74,000

shoulder pain

550,000

90,500

shoulder injury

74,000

9,900

knee pain

673,000

90,500

knee injury

246,000

33,100

sports injury

135,000

40,500

arthritis

4,090,000

450,000

Of course there are thousands of keyword permutations but these are the broad searches.

When people look for a clinician they do so because they have a condition.  Each profession has specialities but back pain is the number one reason that people visit a clinic.

Based on conversations with clinicians over the years, I would put forward the following general percentages as back pain-related patient visits for each profession globally:

Physiotherapy: 40-50%
Osteopathy: 60-70%
Chiropractic: 70-80%

The profession-related search reveals three interesting things for me. 

1/ When people need help, they are looking broadly for a profession.  The type of treatment is a commodity ie I just need a physiotherapist, chiropractor or osteopath.

2/ People are looking for information about back pain and they are looking for private treatment in very large numbers (you don’t need to search if you just go to your GP to get treatment/ referral)

3/ Clinics need to plant the name of their clinic in the minds of future patients so that when they do get pain, they won’t search generically, they will search for their clinic!

There are up to 10 times as many physiotherapists in the UK as osteopaths and chiropractors, but large numbers of patients are looking for osteopaths and chiropractors over physiotherapists.

If we take it that a search for a clinician is in essence a search for treatment for a condition, then applying some percentages we can see more dramatically that osteopaths and chiropractors are getting a disproportionate amount of search traffic for back pain for the number of clinicians in those professions compared to physiotherapists.

Keyword

UK Search

           % of Patients with Back Pain  

physiotherapist

368,000

50%

184,000

 

chiropractor

165,000

70%

115,500

 

osteopath

135,000

60%

81,000

196,500

This is search for broad terms only and the numbers may not be entirely accurate but they do give a ball park figure.  Combining the chiropractic and osteopaths (although I know the two professions are very different!) their combined search number of 196,500 is greater than the search for physiotherapist, 184,000.

What can we infer from this?

Quite a number of things but two things for me.

1/ The numbers show that in broad search terms for the professions, osteopathy and chiropractic are winning the day in the hearts and minds of back pain sufferers.

2/ With an ageing population, clinics can do worse than be the best for back pain … and arthritis.

Stephen Small
Director Steadfast Clinics

Steadfast Clinics is a dynamic medical company which helps clinicians do more for back pain sufferers and helps to grow clinics with the IDD Therapy spinal decompression programme.

For details request an information pack using the form below or visit www.SteadfastClinics.co.uk to read clinician testimonials and more.

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— 0 Comments —

    • Hi Judith,

      I did a quick look for you, here are some search results

      Keyword Global UK
      sports therapist 90,500 18,100
      massage therapist 1,000,000 49,500
      sports massage 110,000 60,500
      bowen therapist 22,200 3,600
      alexander technique 60,500 18,100
      emmett therapist – –
      reiki healer 3,600 590
      reiki master 27,100 2,900
      bowen technique 40,500 12,100

      To get a picture of what people are looking for, go to Google adwords. You can set up a free account and then make a dummy campaign (you don’t have to pay). Using the keyword tool you can see exactly what people are searching for. e.g What is reiki was a large search term. You can then use this in the language of your communications.

      Good luck!

      Kind regards,

      Steve
      stephen.small@steadfastclinics.co.uk

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