Why You Should Choose PT for Neck Pain

Neck pain is a common reason people seek medical care; unfortunately, much like back pain, it can also be a reason people end up with a prescription for opioids to try and reduce pain and discomfort. As we’ve written before, physical therapy is a proven treatment for neck, back, and other pain (including chronic pain) – and now, another study has shown that early treatment by a physical therapist can help reduce overall treatments costs and opioid prescriptions.

From car accidents, to congenital conditions, to normal aging, the neck can experience a variety of issues that ultimately lead to movement restrictions and/or frequent, and even chronic pain and discomfort. A study published in the American Physical Therapy Association (APTA) online PT in Motion demonstrated how early PT can lead to lower rates of painkiller prescriptions, invasive injections, and lower total costs for patients.

Researchers looked at patients in three different groups: an early, delayed, and late group all experiencing neck pain. The early group saw a PT within 14 days of seeing a primary care provider, the delayed group within 15-90 days, and the late group from 90-365 days. They tracked rates for imaging, injections, opioid medication, and total costs for a year. At the one-year mark, the “early” group saved the most money, received less injections, was less likely to need imaging, and were more than 2.79x less likely to be prescribed opioids than the late group.

Some key points:

  • Although the study focused on patients receiving physical therapy “early” (within 14 days after a primary care visit), due to Direct Access laws, you can actually visit a physical therapist first. In Indiana, you now have 42 days to visit your PT without needing a referral. Should a referral become necessary for more visits, the Body One team works with doctors and your insurance company.
  • Despite delayed or late PT treatment having higher overall costs and instances of injections and opioid prescriptions for patients, physical therapy is still often warranted. Although physical therapy may not be able to cure or fix your condition completely, it can often dramatically improve it – and with it, your pain/discomfort, movement, etc.
  • Opioids may seem to help your neck pain initially; however, they are only treating your symptoms without offering any real solution. In addition to acting only as a pharmaceutical band-aid, they’re also incredibly risky. Trying physical therapy is a non-invasive, non-medication, proven way to treat neck, back, and other forms of pain.
  • Physical therapists are typically doctors in one of several disciplines. Your PT is an expert in the musculoskeletal system who will work with you to improve your movement, function, and discomfort in your neck – in addition to providing education on your condition as well as exercises and stretches to do at home. You’ll gain an active role in your own recovery.

Are you dealing with neck, back, or other pain that’s become too much to handle? You don’t have to go it alone – let Body One Physical Therapy be your partner in recovery. We’re locally-owned and operated, with three locations serving Central Indiana: North Indianapolis, Fishers, and Zionsville. Our team of talented, expert physical therapists works with clients of all ages and activity levels, and we’d love to help get you back to feeling your best. Don’t suffer another day, call Body One now.

Sources: http://www.apta.org/PTinMotion/News/2018/12/04/EarlyPTNeckPain/