Low Back Pain Costs

80%—4 out of 5—of us will experience lower back pain at some point in our lives. And while there’s no shortage of research on how to prevent it (see below), recently we’ve seen more studies about how to lower the cost of treating it.


Physical therapy first for low back pain lowers costs

Co-pays, deductibles, and treatments can all be expensive, no matter how good your insurance is. Not to mention, there are the costs that come with missed work, reduced productivity, and not functioning at your best.

The Alliance for Physical Therapy Quality and Innovation and The Moran Company conducted a joint study with some pretty surprising results. Patients who received Physical Therapy within the first 15 days of the onset of back pain spent 27 percent less money. And those who received PT within the first 45 days still spent 10 percent less money.

When they dug a little deeper and compared PT to injections and surgery, they found major cost differences:

  • Those who had PT before injections, like steroid epidurals, had an average savings of 19 percent.
  • Having PT before surgery brought an average savings of 75 percent.

The second study, by Virginia-Mason hospital in Seattle, showed that treating Lower Back Pain with Physical Therapy, rather than going straight to an MRI, cut the cost of a back pain episode in half, from the $2100-$2200 range to $900-$1000. 

"While every situation is unique, research now clearly proves that a patient who seeks out physical therapy before trying surgery and steroids gets better faster, has much lower recurrance, and will pay less overall. And this is true even if surgery ends up being a part of the recommended treatment plan."

Craig O'Neil, Results Physiotherapy VP of Learning and Affiliations

It also revealed that choosing PT earlier in the treatment process resulted in only 6 percent of patients losing time from work.

More than three million people visit the Emergency Room each year for Lower Back Pain. In fact, next to the common cold, it’s the cause of the most physician office visits.

It can take a lot out of patients, their savings, and everyone’s productivity. But the thing is, it doesn’t have to.

Physical therapy helps lower back pain

Eighty percent of Americans experience Lower Back Pain. Yet more than a third of them don’t contact a professional to get relief.

It certainly doesn’t feel like it at the time, but most back pain isn’t serious. Often, it can be alleviated with Physical Therapy, rather than injections, MRIs, and even surgery. 

Whether it’s caused by sciatica, facet syndrome, or a herniated disc, (I’m thinking those would be links) the first step is to focus on the cause of the pain. And many times the best long-term relief comes from movement – which is what Physical Therapists teach patients.


You no longer have to live with chronic low back pain

Low back pain is one of the most common ailments around—but it’s one of the most treatable.

Results physical therapists have the training and techniques to help the millions of people who suffer from low back pain. If you’re one, just call our clinic nearest you or just fill out the simply form below to schedule an appointment.

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