Less back and neck pain improved long-term function

About 8 in 10 of us will experience back or neck pain at some point in our lives, and for some, it can be severe, debilitating and reoccurring. It’s our body’s core, after all. So when the muscles and nerves near the spine are pinched, pulled or twisted, the pain and discomfort can make it difficult to get up – let alone work and do the things we love. 

Experts in spine health and getting clients back to their everyday lives, our Physical Therapy team focuses not just on treating the pain or discomfort but determining and treating the cause. We’ll also show you how to prevent its reoccurrence so that your focus can return back to life.

Commonly Treated Conditions:

  • Chronic neck and back pain 
  • Headaches 
  • Work-related injuries 
  • Post-surgical care 
  • Herniated disc 
  • Spinal stenosis 
  • Degenerative disc disease 
  • Scoliosis

Worsening Trends In Back Pain Management

(The authors looked at 23, 918 patient visits for back or neck pain over a 12 year period)

A couple key points of the study found rather large increases in guideline discordant care that has not been shown to improve outcomes.

1) Referrals to other physicians: (over 100% increase)
2) Prescriptions for narcotics (nearly 50% increase)
3) Use of advanced imaging such as CT/MRI (nearly 60% increase)

The authors also found a decrease or no change in care concordant with guidelines:

1) Decrease in prescriptions of NSAIDs or use of OTC Acetaminophen (nearly 33% decrease)
2) No change in PT referrals

I believe the authors say it well in the final paragraph of their study:

Despite numerous published national guidelines, management of routine back pain increasingly has relied on advanced diagnostic imaging, referrals to other physicians, and use of narcotics, with a concomitant decrease in NSAID or acetaminophen use and no change in physical therapy referrals.

With health care costs soaring, improvements in the management of back pain represent an area of potential cost savings for the health care system while also improving the quality of care.

Ed Scott PT, DPT, OCS
September 2014

Worsening Trends in the Management and Treatment of Back Pain
JAMA Intern Med. 2013;173(17):1573-1581. doi:10.1001/jamainternmed.2013.8992

If you’re having trouble bending or twisting your head, or your spine discomfort is making it difficult to get out of bed or focus on your day, visit us for a thorough spine assessment. Our team will start you down a path toward pain-free recovery. 


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Ed Scott

2154 Cousteau Dr.
West Lafayette, Indiana 47906

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Tuesday:    1:30-5:30
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