By Todd Ward – Administrator, Rehabilitation and Sports Medicine
It has been estimated that about 80% of adult Americans will experience
low back pain at some point. About 40% will have symptoms severe enough
to cause a loss of sleep, decreased ability to do their daily activities
and ability to exercise. Nearly 75% of adults with low back pain will
use some form of pain medication to combat their low back pain. Opioids
(narcotic pain medication) abuse is seen as one of the biggest healthcare
problems in the US. Opioids are addictive and mask symptoms but do not
alleviate the cause of the pain. That is where physical therapy comes in.
study published early this month in the journal
Health Services Research examined 150,000 cases of low back pain across six states. Patients with
low back pain that went to physical therapy first required 28% less imaging
(x-rays, MRI’s etc), had fewer ER visits and had on average $500
less out of pocket costs. Most remarkably is that patients that went to
PT first had an 89% lower chance of requiring an opioid prescription.
If you are now or in the future affected by back pain, think about seeing
a physical therapist first. Early physical intervention has been shown
time and time again to improve outcomes. The state of Colorado allows
direct access to Physical Therapy meaning in many cases you do not need
a prescription to see a PT*.
For more information how Physical Therapy can help you, contact Gunnison
Valley Health’s Rehab and Athletic Medicine at 641-7248 with questions
or to schedule an appointment for the best therapy in the Valley.
*Government payers (Medicare and Medicaid) and Worker’s Compensation
do require a physician’s prescription