"Physical Therapy Can Be the Back-Pain Answer"

Nearly 80 percent of Americans will have back pain sometime in their life. The majority of these cases resolve in less than a month with no serious complications. However, once you have back pain, you are at greater risk for recurrence. Establishing a definitive medical diagnosis has been shown to be nearly impossible. Most people over 35 have degenerative changes on X-rays and 50 to 75 percent of us have positive findings on MRI. A decision to proceed with surgery based on these tests has been shown to lead to poor results.

The question arises: How do we treat back pain effectively in a cost-effective manner? The answer in many cases is physical therapy. Physical therapy has been shown to decrease the use of opioids, a significant medical and societal disaster. Research from Utah assessed 32,000 patients with low back pain and concluded that when they obtained physical therapy first, overall cost was less, outcomes improved and often further interventions (MRI, injections, opioids and surgery) were unnecessary.

While each case is different, back surgery is fraught with complications and fails to relieve symptoms in 50 percent of the cases. The overwhelming evidence suggests that patients with low back pain who seek physical therapy first may avoid surgery and other risky interventions, while improving their symptoms and returning to a full, active life.

STEVE KARAS
Forest Hills

Source: http://www.post-gazette.com/opinion/letters/2016/11/27/Physical-therapy-can-be-the-back-pain-answer/stories/201611270039

Date 
Monday, November 28, 2016