Back pain is the #1 musculoskeletal reason that patients seek medical care. This group of patients comprises the highest percentage of patients seen at a typical outpatient physical therapy clinic.
The natural history of back pain is to recover, but when it does not chronicity and treatment costs rise. As healthcare costs are on everyone’s mind, I write this to inform the masses of the most recent, up-to-date medical guidelines regarding low back care.
A study by Childs et al (full text here) echoes sentiments previously published by Fritz in 2013 regarding the importance of early physical therapy (<14 days after consult with physician) and adherent care (treatment provided supported by research) to reduce utilization and overall costs of treating back pain. Child’s study found those receiving early and adherent care saw a 60% decrease in costs. Similarly, Fritz et al reported a savings of nearly $2700 under similar circumstances.
How is it that costs were so much lower? Patients getting appropriate care are less likely to seek additional care such as return visits to MD, get fewer expensive diagnostic tests, fewer injections, less prescription medication, and were less likely to opt for surgical intervention. Wouldn’t you like to save between 2-3 thousand dollars treating your back pain?
What does adherent care look like? This truly is difficult to answer in brief here, but an active patient-therapist treatment approach is indicated. If the bulk of treatment consists of heat/ice, ultrasound, electrical stimulation, traction, then you did not get care proven effective. Now there are instances where these passive modalities are indicated, but their application should be minimal. Hands on care and exercise have been proven effective time and again based on scientific research. The exact treatment package will vary based on the presenting symptoms of the patient. Unfortunately, Childs et al reports only about 25% of patients are receiving early and adherent care.
I am here to tell you that by and large, the vast majority of patients who seek care sooner after injury tend to recover quicker and have fewer visits to physical therapy. Many of them come via direct access, which is allowed by many insurers now in attempts to reduce extra costs via patients seeking unnecessary imaging and medication.
If you are tired of dealing with back pain or just tired to the medical system run-around, look no further. Answers and solutions to your problems may be within this FREE resource (download your copy instantly). Still have questions? Call Andrew @ 717-440-6197 or email firstname.lastname@example.org