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Consumer Reports Survey Shows High Satisfaction for Physical Therapist Treatment of Back Pain
Date:4/9/2009

'Hands-On' Therapies Rated More Effective Than Traditional Medical Care

ALEXANDRIA, Va., April 9 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Physical therapy ranks among the top treatment choices of their readers with back pain, according to a new Consumer Reports survey of more than 14,000 Americans who experience the condition. In the survey, physical therapist treatment and other "hands on" therapies outranked treatment by medical specialists and primary care providers, a result that should prompt more patients to seek conservative options as a first line of treatment for their back pain, according to the American Physical Therapy Association (APTA) and its Orthopaedic Section. The article also urges caution when using prescription narcotics for back pain.

"Physical therapists, who are experts at improving mobility and restoring motion in people's lives, can successfully provide very effective, safe and comprehensive treatment for back pain in many instances," said APTA President R. Scott Ward, PT, PhD. "In today's challenging economic times, it is important for consumers to know that physical therapist intervention can also be a more affordable and cost effective option."

A growing body of evidence is pointing toward the effectiveness of physical therapist treatment for low back pain. A review article published in the February 2009 Journal of the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons(1) recommended that in most cases of symptomatic lumbar degenerative disc disease, a common cause of low back pain (LBP), the most effective treatment is physical therapy combined with anti-inflammatory medications.

"For pain of a 'mechanical' origin such as low back pain, hands-on physical therapy to mobilize the spine and exercises designed to alleviate low back pain have been shown to be particularly effective and have long-lasting effects on patients," said James J. Irrgang, PT, PhD, ATC, president of t
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SOURCE American Physical Therapy Association
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