Early physical therapy benefits low-back pain patients
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 lower probability of an emergency department visit -- but a 19 percent higher probability of hospitalization.
The authors 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.
These patients also had significantly lower out-of-pocket costs.Full Article