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Friday, May 7, 2021

Preventing a return to chronic pain

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Back pain can be frustrating and debilitating, interfering with sleep, exercise and relaxation. While they don’t resolve themselves quickly or completely, there are things you can do to reduce the pain.

The greatest known advantage of physical therapy is its cost. A physical therapist sees patients for a minimum of five hours a week for a month at an average cost of $185 per patient. That translates to a good deal of money saved.

The two major costs for physical therapy services — nurses and clinicians — are cheap to procure. Over the past decade, nurse practitioners have taken on many patient-side roles that used to be the domain of a doctor or an emergency physician. They did this without raising prices and without requiring a significant increase in fees from the various providers that offer physical therapy services. The costs of clinicians have also remained manageable.

Because physical therapy is relatively easy for providers to gain expertise in, many doctors have brought on staff physical therapists who can give them expertise in the specific pain conditions they are treating.

In those cases, physical therapists have what is called a practice area. Those physicians may want to expand to provide physical therapy services, but because physical therapists deal with patients on a range of pain conditions from fractured hips to low back pain, they could see a benefit to keeping that one physical therapist on the team. Physical therapists can also grow as the physician sees them evolve and needs need their services grow with them.

Physical therapists work in a supportive collaborative environment, which offers insight on what may be going wrong and the best procedures for treating individual patients.

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