Back pain is the leading cause of disability worldwide¹. Annual healthcare system costs in the US alone are in the billions for the treatment of back pain². Recent research shows an increasing prevalence of back pain in men and the elderly population, resulting in time away from work, hobbies, family occasions, and more¹.
While acute back pain (first 4-6 weeks after injury/onset) can be resolved in the majority of cases, individuals often delay seeking treatment, which can lead to both chronic pain and injury recurrence where symptoms often feel worse.3,4
The Benefits of Starting Physical Therapy EARLY for Acute Back Pain
Early access to Physical Therapy (PT) in the acute phase after injury/onset has been shown to reduce pain, minimize the risk of injury recurrence and decrease overall healthcare costs, including the utilization of diagnostic imaging, injections, medication, or surgery.3,5 In addition, the current American College of Physicians clinical practice guidelines suggest nonpharmacologic treatments (such as PT) are highly recommended and considered best practice in the treatment of acute back pain². These guidelines also emphasize the importance of remaining active during an acute episode of back pain, as physical activity has superior outcomes compared to rest.
Back pain can sometimes be related to other issues such as sciatica or new symptoms in the leg(s) including numbness, tingling, and burning. In a recent study, those referred to Physical Therapy by their Primary Care Provider in the acute stage of sciatica experienced less pain and disability than those who did not receive Physical Therapy6. In addition, those who received Physical Therapy continued to report better outcomes after one year.
Physical Therapists are experts in differentiating the cause of your
symptoms and developing the appropriate treatment plan for you, whether it is a muscle, joint, or nerve-related. Physical Therapists are highly trained in recognizing these “red flag” signs and symptoms in the rare event of a more serious condition and will refer you out to a specialist.
How Excel Physical Therapy Can Help
At Excel Physical Therapy, we offer a variety of services to address your back pain including Manual Therapy, the McKenzie Method, Graston Technique, exercise, stability training, and more. We will provide you with useful, applicable education to maximize your workplace ergonomics, athletic performance, or lifting mechanics so you can pick up your grandkids or crush a gym workout without pain. With our flexible hours including evenings and weekends, we can accommodate your busy work or family schedule. Many insurances offer Direct Access (DA) benefits where you do not need a Physician referral to see a Physical Therapist. If you don’t have DA benefits, don’t worry! Our team can help you obtain a referral and recommend a Physician if needed. We will schedule your Initial Evaluation within 24-48 hours after calling one of our clinics, ensuring you are taken care of as soon as possible.
By Sarah Pichini, PT, DPT
Excel PT – West Chester