Physical Therapy for Low Back Pain: Faster Improvement and Lower Costs

Posted on Jul 13, 2017

Posted in: PT Tips,Specialty Treatments

Did you know 15% to 20% of adults will experience low back pain this year? Another 50% to 80% will have least one episode of back pain during a lifetime. That is what a study at the Mayo Clinic College of Medicine in Rochester, Minnesota confirmed ten years ago.

Thankfully, physical therapists are adopting an early intervention approach based on clinical practice guidelines to give patients with low back pain quicker access to treatment. This protocol is showing signs of better patient outcomes and lower healthcare costs and utilization.

Last month in Milwaukee, Dr. Paul Reuteman,  a highly regarded clinical professor at UW La Crosse, shared research and techniques to help physical therapists formulate treatment plans for patients who choose to treat their lower back pain. Miles Weber, physical therapist at Peak Performance, participated in this seminar.

Weber encourages patients with low back pain to try physical therapy as their first defense to combating their issues. A self-referral (contacting the physical therapist practice directly) is less complex than a medical visit. It can also result in fewer visits overall and reduce costs up to 250%! *

Why is physical therapy effective for low back pain? Reuteman and others advocate the use of subgroup classifications before developing a treatment plan. This begins with understanding how the patient is presenting from both a physical and psychological perspective. Weber utilizes his educational background in psychology to understand not only the functional setbacks low back pain is causing, but the emotional ones as well.

Weber develops a rapport with patients by taking the time to let them describe their low back pain in their own words. Early intervention can be effective when someone begins to notice low back pain, pain down their legs or simply cannot get out of bed easily.

“As a licensed physical therapist, it’s my responsibility to attend continuing education seminars by practice specialty experts. It keeps my skills sharp and provides an interactive forum with peers to listen to the descriptions provided by experts in lower back pain. After attending this seminar, I am excited to apply what I learned to help our patients,” states Weber.

To schedule a consultation with Miles for your low back pain, you can use our online contact form or call us at (920) 738-0671.

* Source: Journal Health Services Research, Julie M. Fritz, PT, PhD, FAPTA, Gerard P. Brennan, PT, PhD, and Stephen J. Hunter, PT, PhD, OCS