Direct Access to Physical Therapy: Cost-Effective & Faster Recovery
According to a research report published Jan 2014 there’s “significant and clinically meaningful findings across studies that satisfaction and outcomes were superior, and numbers of physical therapy visits, imaging ordered, medications prescribed, and additional non–physical therapy appointments were less in cohorts receiving physical therapy by direct access compared with referred episodes of care”.
EARLY INTERVENTION OF PHYSICAL THERAPY REDUCES HEALTHCARE UTILIZATION AND COSTS
Seeing patients earlier (within 14 days) will resolve their symptoms of pain much faster and be more effective (in regards to experiencing decreased risk of further treatment such as advanced imaging, additional physician visits, surgery, injections, and pain-reliever medications. "The study also revealed that during the 18-month follow-up period, medical costs for the early treatment group were $2,736 per patient lower than the group that delayed physical therapy") then a 'wait and see' or delayed Physical Therapy.
Physcial Therapy Prevents Rotator Cuff Surgery
You as a patients should be educated that traditional PT and overall conservative care will likely be more beneficial in the long run than surgery. In fact, nearly 75% of patients can avoid rotator cuff repair surgery by performing physical therapy despite having full thickness cuff tears as seen in this study (below). Often, pre-hab may be enough! Physical therapy should be attempted prior to surgery, even in the case of a full thickness tear.
Dry Needling Can Decrease Neck Pain and Increase Motion
Trigger points can be a source of pain and may limit neck motion. Dry needling is a specialized treatment for trigger points. In the short term, the findings of this study suggest that a single treatment of dry needling can decrease pain and improve motion.
Avoiding potential surgery and cost saving implications with Physcial Therapy
Several studies have shown the potential of the McKenzie Method for pre-surgical screening and intervention to reduce surgery rates in the spine. This could have significant cost-saving implications. Four years after implementation of McKenzie based spine clinics in a Danish county, lumbar disc surgery rates were reduced by 50% compared with previous years.