PT Month – The Economic Value of Physical Therapy in the US

October is National Physical Therapy Month, dedicated to raising awareness of the economic and health benefits of physical therapy. Choosing physical therapy helps Americans live better lives and could save the health care system millions of dollars annually. Physical therapy helps Americans avoid complications from surgeries and the risks of overuse of opioids and other medications.

The American Physical Therapy Association (APTA) recently released a report: “The Economic Value of Physical Therapy in the United States.” The APTA engaged an international management consulting group to evaluate the cost-benefit of physical therapy approaches versus non-physical therapy treatments for eight conditions: Osteoarthritis of the knee, Carpal tunnel syndrome, Low back pain, Stress Urinary incontinence, Lateral epicondylitis (tennis elbow), Vascular claudication, Falls prevention, and Cancer rehabilitation.

In each condition, the study found that physical therapy offered a significant cost benefit over traditional non-physical therapy methods. Additionally, the report finds that not only is physical therapy an excellent alternative to many other interventions that only provide short-term relief, but its benefits extend to increases in future quality of life and subsequent injury prevention. Five of the eight diagnostic categories (knee osteoarthritis, carpal tunnel syndrome, low back pain, stress urinary incontinence, and lateral epicondylitis) referenced manual therapy as part of the recommended interventions provided by physical therapists. All categories included specific exercises as described in APTA clinical guidelines.

Northern Rehab physical therapists are well-equipped in the subspecialty of orthopaedic manual physical therapy, which encompasses hands-on treatment, clinical reasoning, therapeutic exercise, patient-centered education, and appropriate physical activity.  Our therapists have demonstrated high levels of adherence to clinical practice guidelines. The value of physical therapy is evident in this report. Northern Rehab strives to provide access to the low-risk, high quality health care offered by our physical therapists.

Northern Rehab values its partnership with the APTA and is encouraged by this report that testifies to the value of physical therapy. By making information about the benefits of physical therapy more widely known, we can provide effective alternatives to invasive surgeries and reliance on drug therapies. Together, we continue to advocate for our profession through education and the dissemination of knowledge.