Low back pain is one of the most common conditions in healthcare. Unfortunately, the road to relief is not the same for all patients. Yet, the good news is that physical therapy continues to have significant benefits. Several clinical studies have shown that PT is very cost-effective and can prevent unnecessary treatment for the consumer.
Two studies have shown that PT can save patients thousands of dollars. An article(http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22614792) in 2012 indicated that when patients saw a physical therapist within 2 weeks of onset, the average consumer saved $2700. This is a significant savings with reduced rate of surgeries, injections, unnecessary imaging and medications. Because time can be a factor, patients now have direct access to physical therapy which means they do not need a script from a physician. This law was put into place for cases like low back pain where people can experience significant relief when they see a physical therapist within two weeks.
Furthermore, another study this month (http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/m/pubmed/25772625) looked at the difference between advanced imaging vs. PT as a first management strategy following a primary care consultation. They found patients that saw a PT first saved $4700 on average if they did not get advanced imaging. Fortunately, a physical therapist has the clinical skills to know when imaging may be necessary in the rare event and send patients back to their physician for further examination. Although advanced imaging (MRI, CTscan) and surgery are sometimes needed for the care of low back pain, it is rare.
Physical therapy is very cost-effective for low back pain. If you are experiencing low back pain, seeing a physical therapist first will allow you to get relief quickly and get you back to what you enjoy most in Colorado.
If you are interested in learning more about how to resolve your back pain, click on the link below for a report on stopping low back pain.