PT in the Time of Social Distancing

During the COVID-19 outbreak, many people with pain or joint issues have been unable to receive care. This is due to the closure of physician’s offices, stoppages of elective surgeries, and social distancing guidelines. If you’re one of them and you haven’t seen your PT yet, you should. Here are some reasons why:

Early PT leads to Better Outcomes

Starting PT early leads to better outcomes, lowers healthcare costs, and reduces the need for surgery and medications. Because back pain is so common, there is a lot of outcome data from people with back pain. Unfortunately, only 2% of people with back pain start with PT, and only 7% get to PT within 90 days.

Early PT Saves Money

Starting PT early can also help save on healthcare costs. A study published in the Journal of Orthopaedic and Sports Physical Therapy showed that patients who obtained physical therapy via direct access had significantly lower medical costs.They also had significantly fewer visits and spent significantly fewer days in care.

Surgery May Not Be As Effective As You Think

Many patients look to surgery as the fix for their pain, but surgeries aren’t always as effective as patients believe. A large study looking at worker’s comp patients with back pain found that people who have surgery have a 1 in 4 chance of having a repeat surgery, a 1 in 3 chance of a major complication, and a 1 in 3 chance of never returning to work again. Recent large studies of arthroscopic surgeries for meniscal tears have shown no difference in outcomes between people who have surgery and those who don’t. Other procedures with questionable effectiveness include kyphoplasty, vertebroplasty, and injections for nonspecific back pain.
So, if you were planning on seeing your PCP or a specialist for an orthopedic condition or pain and you haven’t seen a PT yet, you should consider making PT your first stop. You could end up getting better faster for less money and you might avoid riskier treatments like opioids or surgery.

CWJR has taken heightened safety and clearning precautions during the COVID-19 outbreak. Our clinic is open and ready to provide therapy to you or your loved one. If coming into the clinic is not feasible for you right now we are also offering appointments through telehealth. Please call us today at 586-323-2957 to set up your FREE 30 minute screening.

Source: APTA.org