Friday, December 31, 2010

Go to Physical Therapy to Save Money!

The use of physical therapy for many injuries and conditions has long been shown in studies to decrease pain and increase return to prior level of function.  Unfortunately, in this economic climate many insurance companies including the largest one, the federal government (Medicare), continue to cut reimbursement rates for physical therapy.  Often the explanation is that the services are over-utilized or ineffective, even without studies to prove their reasoning.   It actually happens to be the opposite according to many studies.

A recent study of patients with low back pain currently using any service under Medicare shows that physical therapy can help save money for both the patient and insurance company.  This study by Gellhorn et al. (2010) analyzed 439 patients to “evaluate the relationship between early physical therapy (PT) for acute low back pain and subsequent lumbosacral [low back] injections, lumbar surgery, and frequent physician office visits for low back pain.”1    

In conclusion of this study the researchers found that those patients who had physical therapy with sudden onset of low back pain had less frequent physician visits and were less likely to have injections or surgery.  So next time you have any aches or pains be sure to ask your physician if physical therapy may be helpful for you.  Physical Therapy can decrease your painful symptoms, speed up the return to your prior level of functioning and lower health costs to both you and the insurance company.  

1. Spine (Phila Pa 1976). 2010 Nov 19

No comments:

Post a Comment