Have Low Back Pain? Get Physical Therapy First!
Do You Have Low Back Pain? Physical Therapy Can Help!
You’ve likely already seen the statistics on low back pain. Up to 80% of us will have an episode of back pain at some point in our lives. For many people this pain doesn’t go away and may become chronic or recurring. Low back pain is the main cause of disability worldwide and leads to billions of dollars spent on healthcare for this condition alone.
According to the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons:
“In 2004, the estimated annual direct cost of treating back pain was $193.9 billion. Between 1996 and 2004, the cost of spine conditions, in 2004 dollars, increased by 49 percent. The largest share of increase was related to prescription medications. In addition, annual indirect costs for lost wages resulting from back pain were estimated to add another $22.4 billion to this cost.”
One of the most common ways people try to deal with low back pain is to take over-the-counter (like Tylenol) or prescription medications. More and more research is showing that not only are there very real and harmful side effects to these drugs, but they might not be as helpful as they were thought to be in helping manage low back pain.
Many doctors recommend an X-ray, MRI, or CT scan. It makes sense to want to know what’s going on in your back. The problem is that these imaging techniques often aren’t helpful at all and groups like Consumer Reports and other medical associations recommend you skip the scans completely. One study shows that getting an MRI as a first option can end up costing you $4,800 more than getting physical therapy instead.
How Does Physical Therapy Help?
Physical therapy is not only a safer way to help deal with low back pain, it also can save you a lot of money and unnecessary suffering. If you have an episode of low back pain, getting physical therapy early on can save you up to $2,700 instead of waiting weeks to start treatment. In the US, direct access allows you to go to see your physical therapist first instead of having to get a referral from a doctor.
One of the things that sets physical therapy apart from other types of treatment is the quality time we spend with our clients. Not only will we teach you about back pain and ways you can help yourself, we will start you on a program made just for you to get you moving again. A program just for you, without emptying your bank account, and none of the side effects of surgery and pain medication…The perfect combination! As an important side note, your physical therapist is well trained in warning signs that would require you to see a doctor for further testing if needed.
Here’s one of many reasons to get physical therapy first. Harvard Medical School states that physical therapy gets just as good of results as surgery for spinal stenosis (a condition that effects some people with low back pain). If you can get the same results without having to go through surgery (and you likely will end up in physical therapy after surgery anyway), why wouldn’t you try it?