Physical therapy that was initiated early (PT) in U.S. patients with acute lower back pain (LBP) was linked to lower utilization of health resources during the first month and the first year following the first manifestation of symptoms, as per the findings of a study from Johns Hopkins Medicine. The health care resources comprised advanced imaging, special appointments including epidural steroid injections as well as the emergency department (ER) visit. Patients who started PT early were half likely to be in the ER within 30 days of the onset of symptoms than those who didn’t receive early PT that was defined by the study as beginning in the first two weeks following the onset of symptoms.
Physical therapy that was initiated early (PT) to U.S. patients with acute lower back pain (LBP) was linked to lower utilization of health resources during the first month and the first year following the first onset of symptoms in a recent study from Johns Hopkins Medicine. These resources for health care included advanced imaging, specialist appointments including epidural steroid injections as well as an emergency room (ER) appointments. Patients who started PT earlier were less likely to go to the ER within 30 days of the onset of symptoms as those who did not receive early PT that was defined by the study as beginning at least two weeks after the onset of symptoms.
The study was released in the journal BMC Health Service Research in July 2022.
Lower back pain is a significant part in the U.S. population, ranging between 1.4 20 to 4 percent. It is also responsible for significant health care expenses.
Our aim was to determine whether earlier PT for patients suffering from lower back pain could have an effect the overall quality of their utilization of resources. We were particularly interested in the first 30 days following symptoms onset because it is the time the time when patients are most likely to seek treatment.”
Richard Skolasky Jr., Sc.D., M.A. the study’s lead author and head of the Johns Hopkins Spine Outcomes Research Center
Utilizing Truven MarketScan, which is a set comprised of U.S.-based administrative health insurance databases, researchers identified more than ninety-nine thousand U.S. claims cases. The patients who were not identified who were included in these claims were averaging age of 47. They first diagnosed with acute LBP from 2010 to 2014. About 11% of patients underwent the treatment in early PT.
Based on the cases that were reviewed and analyzed, the team compared the utilization of health services as well as the cost of LBP-related services , which were coded as having a Musculoskeletal System diagnosis. They then evaluated the results after 30 days and at one year after the presentation among patients who received the early PT in comparison to those who didn’t.
In comparison to those who didn’t receive earlier PT The first PT class had less frequent use of health services like ER visits, within the initial month and in the first year following the onset of symptoms as acute LBP. Early PT group also used less on services related to LBP within the initial 30 days following the onset of symptoms.
“As as the U.S. population ages, the incidence of lower back pain is predicted to rise, as will the costs associated with managing it,” says Skolasky. “Furthermore thanks to advances in imaging and treatment for managing low back pain has significantly increased. These findings have significant implications that could guide the health care policy process when looking at the health care costs downstream and utilization of resources.”
The team of researchers believes that the next research study on the impact on early PT should be based on the measurement of clinical outcomes to assess its effect on the health of patients.
Johns Hopkins Medicine
Marrache, M., and others. (2022) Initial treatment for an acute lower back pain The early stage of physical therapy is associated with the use of healthcare and expenditure? A retrospective study of the National Database. BMC Health Services Research. doi.org/10.1186/s12913-022-08255-0.
We understand how important it is to choose a chiropractor that is right for you. It is our belief that educating our patients is a very important part of the success we see in our offices.