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For Back Pain, Earlier Is Better for Physical Therapy

HealthDay reports on study results published in the journal BMC Health Services Research finding early initiation of physical therapy (PT) for patients with low back pain was associated with lower health care utilization and includes commentary from Catherine MacLean, MD, PhD, chief value medical officer at HSS, who was not involved in the study.

Researchers found that when those patients had "early" PT -- within a couple weeks of seeing a doctor -- they were less likely to need other, often pricey, types of medical care.

According to Dr. MacLean, “The sooner patients with acute low back pain get in to see the physical therapist, the sooner they get better and the less likely they are to need additional therapies.”

She noted that PT may directly ease back pain, and also give patients some peace of mind.

“My sense is that part of what's going on is that the physical therapy is helping,” Dr. MacLean said. “Additionally, I think reassurance that what they are experiencing is not serious and will resolve quickly is incredibly important and helpful to these patients.”

Read the full article at Healthday.com. Additional coverage: USnews.com.