Daily Dynamic Report
New Research Shows: Physical Therapy First for Low Back Pain Curbs Opioid Prescriptions and Lowers Costs
Researchers followed the health insurance claims of more than 150,000 patients for 1 year after an initial visit to a health care provider for LBP (lower back pain.) They sought to examine differences in the type of health care utilized and how much it cost over the course of a year for those who saw a physical therapist first, those who saw a physical therapist at a later time after the initial visit, and those who never visited with a physical therapist during the study period.
The team concluded that patients with LBP who received care from a physical therapist first experience lower out-of-pocket pharmacy and outpatient costs. They also reduced their likelihood of receiving an opioid prescription by 87% compared with patients who never visited a physical therapist. The “physical therapist first” group also experienced a 28% lower probability of having imaging services and 15% lower odds of making a visit to an emergency room.
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