Lower Back Pain Try Physical Therapy First
Updated: May 4, 2021
Though Americans spend an estimated $80 billion to $100 billion each year in hopes of easing their aching backs, the evidence is mounting that many pricey standard treatments — including surgery and spinal injections — are often ineffective and can even worsen and prolong the problem.
A study in the journal Health Services Research suggests trying physical therapy first may at least ease the strain on the patient's wallet in the long term — and also curb reliance on opioid painkillers, which carry their own risks.
Patients in the study had "significantly lower out-of-pocket costs — on the average, $500 — when they visited a physical therapist first," says Bianca Frogner, a health economist at the University of Washington.
Physical Therapist have very specialized knowledge about pain and pain management within the musculoskeletal system.
PT can diminish a patient's pain by physically moving the joints of the back, knee, or hip through a full range of motion, thereby decreasing the stiffness and immobility patients might feel.
The therapists can also guide patients through exercise regimens that strengthen muscles and help patients develop control over movements neurologically.
Help Your Pain
American Pain Society's recommendations to provide noninvasive treatment — including heat, massage, acupuncture and physical therapy — as the first line of defense against low back pain.
More information: Watch our Youtube seminar on hip and knee pain
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