A new study of people with low back pain found that physical therapy was cheaper in the short-term than alternatives such as injections or surgery. It also found that the earlier treatment was started after a diagnosis of low back pain, the less money was spent over a 12-month period.
“We felt it was important to look at claims data to demonstrate how a physical therapy-first approach can improve outcomes and reduce overall medical expenditures,” stated APTQI Executive Director Troy Bage, PT, DPT. “We’ve known this to be true from our experiences as physical therapists, but we wanted to investigate the hard data that bear this out.”
We see a number of clients with back pain each month and we’ve seen the results that physical therapy can have. This report is helping to show that early access to physical therapy is a cost-effective solution for people who are suffering from low back pain. As clients continue to analyze healthcare spending, physical therapy intervention is a great value that provides exceptional outcomes.
Physical therapy cost savings over time
According to the American Physical Therapy Association’s analysis of this study, people who “received physical therapy within the first 15 days of diagnosis incurred lower average treatment costs than those whose physical therapy began later, and those savings continued through the 12-month study period.”
In addition to physical therapy being the more cost effective option, the results indicate that fewer people who received physical therapy as an initial line of treatment for low back pain subsequently went on to have surgery. Michigan has direct access for physical therapy, meaning you can visit a physical therapist without a prescription or referral from your doctor.
If you’re experiencing low back pain, visit a physical therapist first.
Click here to request an appointment at any of our clinics across West Michigan. Remember, you do not need a prescription or referral and we offer free consultations.
This story was brought to us in part by our friends at Ivy Rehab Physical Therapy.