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Physical Therapists Offer Low-Cost Solution to High-Cost Expenditures for Spinal Conditions
Date:2/19/2008

Research Shows Physical Therapy Is an Effective Treatment of Choice for Many Back Pain Patients

ALEXANDRIA, Va., Feb. 19 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- In contrast to a recent study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) suggesting that spine-related expenditures have increased without evidence of improvement, best evidence suggests that patients who receive physical therapy for musculoskeletal disorders, including back and neck pain, report good outcomes at a lower cost than using drugs or surgery(1), the American Physical Therapy Association (APTA) reported today.

For pain of a "mechanical" origin such as back or neck pain, hands-on therapy to mobilize the spine, and exercises designed to alleviate low back pain, have been shown to be particularly effective (2,3). Studies also have shown that patients with lumbar spinal stenosis can benefit from physical therapy, particularly when manual physical therapy, exercise, and a progressive body-weight-supported treadmill walking program is used (4).

"Consumers need to know that physical therapist management is a low-cost, high-value alternative to drugs and surgery to deal with musculoskeletal pain," said APTA President R Scott Ward, PT, PhD. "The judicious use of appropriate physical therapist treatment based on best evidence can improve the function of people who struggle with back and neck conditions." Ward added, "Because patients with chronic, disabling low back pain account for a disproportionate share of health care expenditures and workers' compensation costs, the potential cost savings of an early, effective intervention to prevent individuals from progressing to chronic disability may be considerable."

Consumers can find a physical therapist in their area by accessing http://www.findapt.us -- a national database of physical therapist members of APTA. The database allows users to search by zip co
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SOURCE American Physical Therapy Association
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