In a recent study published by BMC Health Services Research, researchers studied health care utilization for neck pain over a 1 year period. They tracked when patients consulted with a physical therapist, rates of spinal injection, opioid prescription, imaging such as MRI and x-ray, and overall cost. It was found that those individuals who consulted a physical therapist within 14 days of onset of neck pain had lower rates of spinal injection, opioid prescription, imaging, and less overall cost. Researchers found that only 15.1% of patients had a consult with a physical therapist over the entire 1 year period. This is unfortunate considering research shows that physical therapy can have a positive impact on neck pain, especially when treated early.
Current trends in how neck pain is treated are not only costly for the patient and the payers. The findings from this study suggest that consulting with a physical therapist early in the episode of care, leads to more favorable outcomes for the patient and less overall cost. Physical therapists are specialized in evaluating and treating musculoskeletal impairments. Treatments are individualized to the patient, taking into account personal goals and medical history, as well as the physical therapist’s assessment. Therapists work closely with physicians and other healthcare professionals in order to reach optimum results for the patient.
Choose physical therapy first to eliminate pain, optimize your function, and be one step closer to living pain free. Northern Rehab Physical Therapists provide hands-on care combined with specific corrective therapeutic exercises that will correct physical impairments to allow a healthier, more active daily life. Illinois law no longer requires a physician prescription to receive physical therapy, but certain insurance companies may still require a physician’s referral for physical therapy. The friendly staff at Northern Rehab is happy to assist patients in understanding their insurance benefits and requirements related to physical therapy. Please call us at 815.756.8524 if we can answer any questions for you, or help you schedule an appointment.
Authored by Andrea Carter, PT, DPT, of Northern Rehab Physical Therapy Specialists