As physiotherapists, we know that we can have a meaningful impact on back pain in our patients. We also know that things like opioids and imaging for back pain can sometimes cause more harm than good. But how big of an impact can we actually have? 

An article recently released by Health Services Research compared patients who saw a PT first for back pain to patients who saw a PT later or never. Authors found that seeing a PT first reduced opioid prescriptions by almost 90%, imaging by 28%, and emergency department visits by about 15%. The downside was that there was a 19% higher chance of hospitalization as well. Nevertheless, there was a significant and beneficial cost shift shown.

Read the article here.