On any given day, 10 million people in North America will experience Low Back Pain (LBP). It accounts for 25% of lost work days and is the most common cause of disability in those under the age of 45. The direct and indirect cost for LBP are estimated between $85billion and $238billion dollars utilizing expensive services such as physician specialist appointments, advanced imaging (Xray/MRI), lumbar injections, surgery, & opioid use. With 80% of adults experiencing low back pain at some point in their life, there has to be a solution to reducing healthcare costs and lowering treatment risk with a condition that is so prevalent. The numbers are simply shocking and very much alarming.
The key is detecting LBP early during its acute stages. Many of times when we injure our back by either bending down, over reaching for an object, or lifting something of heavy weight. There is an onset of soreness, pain, and pure misery. Many times, we go about our normal weekly routine, and the symptoms manage themselves. For the less unfortunate, the pain persists, intensifies, and we end up facing expensive medical bills and potentially invasive procedures, narcotics, and frequent doctor visits. What do you do with an onset of acute LBP? How do you avoid the expensive costs of healthcare?
The first option you should try is physical therapy. Early use of conservative physical therapy services for LBP has been shown by research to decrease the likelihood of subsequent lumbar surgery, injections, and doctor visits, services that are much more expensive than physical therapy. At PTOSI, we implement a blend of exercise and healthy movement with therapists that are highly trained in educating you to understand and recover from a LBP episode. Seeing a therapist within 30 days of when you injured your back significantly increases your chance of recovery with lower need for more invasive treatments and medication. In many cases, physical therapy can relieve low back pain symptoms with very few side effects and lower medical costs. If you would like more information or would like to have an evaluation of your back pain please call us at PTOSI Physical Therapy (612) 872-2700.
Gellhorn, A. C., Chan, L., & Martin, B. (2012). Management patterns in acute low back pain, the role of physical therapy. Spine 37(9):775-782.
Article Written By: Grant Kaper, DPT