If you wake up one morning suffering from back pain there are almost too many options on what to do about it. Your neighbor may swear by one treatment while Google says to do something completely different. All the options can be confusing and cause you to stress even more.
What if I told you that when you think of low back pain you should think of a physical therapist?
In the state of Missouri, a physical therapist can perform an evaluation without a referral from a physician. That means that you could walk into any Haven Physical Therapy clinic and get an evaluation that same day by a doctor of physical therapy. Imagine being able to do that with your primary care physician!
The truth is only 13% of people who visit their primary care physician are referred to physical therapy for low back pain. This is unfortunate because when you get to physical therapy early (typically within 14 days of injury or onset of pain) it has been shown to be beneficial AND cost-effective!2
Why should you think physical therapy when you have back pain?
Typically when you wake up with back pain your first concern is “what’s wrong with me.” When you walk into a physical therapy clinic, you will be working with an expert in diagnosing what’s causing your back pain. You may be wondering “but what if something is severely wrong back there?” The good news is we can help you with that as well.
Our therapists have been thoroughly trained in screening out what is known as a “red flag”. A red flag is a positive test or cluster of tests that point to a more sinister diagnosis.
Using the red flag categorization as described above helps guide our clinicians to make the most effective decision: to refer to another specialist, continue to treat but monitor closely, or to treat without concern of an underlying sinister diagnosis. Besides, your risk of a sinister disease is actually really quite low!1
The reasons you should think about a physical therapist first when dealing with an episode of low back pain is because sub-optimal primary management of low back pain frequently leads to use of increasingly invasive and costly interventions 6; whereas, “the implementation of evidence-based interventions by a physical therapist earlier in the course of care may prove more cost-effective by promoting recovery and reducing the need for more invasive and costly interventions. 3, 4, 5
If you’re looking for advice and the right treatment for your back pain, we’re here to help. We love helping patients figure out their pain source and how to use the body’s natural healing process to get back to doing what they love!
Needing help figuring out what to do about your low back pain? We have the experts to get you moving again.
- Deyo, R. A., & Diehl, A. K. (1988). Cancer as a cause of back pain. Journal of General Internal Medicine, 3(3), 230-238. doi:10.1007/bf02596337
- Fritz, J. M., Brennan, G. P., Hunter, S. J., & Magel, J. S. (2013). Initial Management Decisions After a New Consultation for Low Back Pain: Implications of the Usage of Physical Therapy for Subsequent Health Care Costs and Utilization. Archives of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, 94(5), 808-816. doi:10.1016/j.apmr.2013.01.008
- Fritz JM, Childs JD, Flynn TW. Primary care referral of patients with a new consultation for LBP to physical therapy: the impact of the timing and content of care on healthcare costs. Spine (Phila Pa 1976). In review.
- Gellhorn, A. C., Chan, L., Martin, B., & Friedly, J. (2012). Management Patterns in Acute Low Back Pain. Spine,37(9), 775-782. doi:10.1097/brs.0b013e3181d79a09
- Pinnington, M. A. (2004). An evaluation of prompt access to physiotherapy in the management of low back pain in primary care. Family Practice,21(4), 372-380. doi:10.1093/fampra/cmh406
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