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~Reduced Costs And Surgeries With Early PT For Low Back Pain

A new study published in Spine determined that early treatment for low back pain led to reduced health care costs when performed by a Physical Therapist.  The authors found that early PT care resulted in reduced use of surgery, injections, Dr. visits, opioid use, and advanced imaging such as MRI. This resulted in savings of $2,736.23 on average. 

The study looked at a large sample size of 32,070 patients who consulted a primary care physician for low back pain.  Those referred to PT early, within 14 days of seeing the doctor, had significantly less health care cost than those who had delayed treatment.  

Another study in Spine showed that people over the age of 66 who saw a physical therapist within 30 days after an acute episode of low back pain were less likely to receive surgery, injection, or further doctor visits.  This study also used a very large sample size of 432,195 patients to come to their conclusion that early PT saves health care costs. 

Physical Therapists are able to work with patients with low back pain to speed up the healing process. They are able to encourage correct movements and develop exercise programs to allow faster recovery from pain and dysfunctional movements. Education is also a significant component of treatment. 

These studies show that early treatment by a PT can lead to decreased health care costs and fewer surgeries and tests.  

To read the Americal Physical Therapy Association's (APTA) press release regarding these findings click here.





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