Physical Therapy

Physical Therapy Lowers Healthcare Costs

A 2015 study conducted by the US Military showed that early physical therapy can help save us from the rising costs of healthcare. The study followed patients with new low back pain, and showed significant benefits in both cost and outcomes when physical therapy was used as the first treatment. Not only is receiving physical therapy a less expensive first step compared to imaging scans (like x-rays), it’s an approach that results in lower utilization costs over time. The study also observed patients receiving image scans as a first referral often follow a different path than those who receive physical therapy first. “Imaging first” not only drove up the overall cost to the patient, it increased the odds of surgery, injections, specialist care, and emergency department visits within a year. The results support similar findings in private sector studies. This realignment of initial care appears to be a promising way to battle the rising cost of healthcare and insurance premiums. By introducing physical therapy first for conditions such as low back pain, we can ultimately lower the cost of healthcare nationally.

 

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