Patients with low-back pain are better off seeing a physical therapist first, according to a study of 150,000 insurance claims.
The study, published in Health Services Research, found that those who saw a physical therapist at the first point of care had an 89 percent lower probability of receiving an opioid prescription, a 28 percent lower probability of having advanced imaging services, and a 15 percent low-er probability of an emergency department visit.
The study did show a 19 percent higher probability of hospitalization. The authors from this study noted that a higher probability of hospitalization is not necessarily a bad outcome if physical therapists are appropriately referring patients to specialized care when low back pain does not resolve by addressing potential musculoskeletal causes first.
In addition, these patients also had significantly lower out-of-pocket costs.
About 80 percent of adults experience back pain at some point during their lifetime, according to the National Institutes of Health.
Rather than being given painkillers, x rays, and told to rest, there continues to be a growing body of research supporting the early use of Physical therapy as a more effective way in treating back pain.
As back pain is one of the most common reasons people go to the doctor or miss work, and it is a leading cause of disability worldwide, the therapists at Specialized Physical Therapy spend countless hours of ongoing education to correctly diagnose the source of your back pain and how to properly treat it. If you or someone you know is currently experiencing back pain, give us a call!
- Physical Therapy as the First Point of Care to Treat Low Back Pain: An Instrumental Variables Approach to Estimate Impact on Opioid Prescription, Health Care Utilization, and Costs. Bianca K. Frogner Ph.D., Kenneth Harwood Ph.D., P.T., C.I.E., C. Holly A. Andrilla M.S., Malaika Schwartz M.P.H., Jesse M. Pines M.D., M.B.A., M.S.C.E. Health Services Research 23 May 2018