Achy joints, stiff neck, back pain, creaky knees… sound familiar? If you are experiencing any of these bodily sensations, you are not alone. Musculoskeletal pain affects one out of every two people in the United States ages 18 and over. That is well over 100 million people every year! It is the most common cause of disability and the primary reason people seek healthcare. When left untreated, it can become chronic, and will likely negatively impact a person’s quality of life.
Between visits to doctors and specialists, diagnostic tests, pain medications, and lost wages from time off from work, people with chronic pain spend a lot of time and money in quest of answers to their problems. And worst of all, as a result of physical inactivity – they become subjected to comorbidities such as cardiovascular disease.
But there is good news! Physical therapy can help with all of the above – from pain relief to savings on health care costs.
Physical therapy is a healthcare service that is highly effective in alleviating pain and supports patients throughout all levels of healing – from initial diagnosis all the way through to the restorative and preventative stages of recovery.
Proven Benefits of Physical Therapy: Evidence-based studies support the following benefits:
- pain reduction
- improving outcomes and optimal levels of function
- improving strength and flexibility
- stimulating the healing process
- restoring movement
- injury prevention and pain management
Value-Based Healthcare Option: Physical therapy is a health service that delivers proven value for every dollar spent.
For instance, the average cost of one round of PT at a total of 10 visits is $1000 while compared to an MRI at $2,611 or $6,754 for a year’s supply of opioids.
Pursuing physical therapy prior to a primary care physician can result in:
- lower costs on claims for patients
- early access savings of $5,000 in annual health care costs for every patient
- up to 72% drop in medical costs per year
Holistic Approach to Prevention and Wellness
Physical therapy takes a preventative and holistic approach to health. In fact, the American Heart Association recommends patients participate in physical therapy as their initial plan of care. Research demonstrates PT can:
- serve as a highly effective alternative to opioids and in some cases, surgery
- empower patients to take control of their pain
- promote physical activity and overall health and well-being
- play a critical role in solving the opioid crisis
Direct Access: Since pain is frequently managed first in primary care settings, most people don’t realize that some states, like Pennsylvania, allow direct access to physical therapy.
Direct access allows a patient to contact a PT directly, without a referral and saves a significant amount of wait time for an appointment. The average wait time to see a PT is 24-48 hours compared to 24 days for an appointment with a primary care physician.
Additionally, research has shown that patients who visit a physical therapist directly for outpatient care had 86 percent fewer visits on average than those who were referred by a physician.
If you are currently in pain and are not sure where to begin, try calling your local physical therapy clinic and use these questions as a guideline for the help you are seeking:
- Does the provider accept your insurance plan?
- Is the provider Direct Access licensed?
- Is your insurance plan applicable to Direct Access?
- How soon will it take to get an appointment?
What to Expect: Whichever way you come to physical therapy, you can expect to:
- undergo a physical exam and evaluation through a series of functional tests
- receive a clinical diagnosis, prognosis, plan of care, and a set of goals
- receive physical therapy interventions and self-management strategies
When patients have greater control over their bodies and the type of care they need, medical adherence increases and health outcomes improve. With the added perks of decreased medical costs and time saved, it’s a win-win!
As healthcare continues to trend more toward prevention and wellness, why not climb aboard and test the waters of physical therapy? You’ve got nothing to lose and everything to gain.
The bottom line is, movement is medicine. When you move, you feel better. When you feel better, you are more likely to eat better, more motivated to move more, to socialize more, and to get outdoors more. So what are you waiting for?
The physical therapists at HARTZ PT are excellent resources for patients to learn new ways to care for themselves so they are able to achieve their most optimal levels of functioning. The best part is, with a no obligation phone consultation, they will answer your burning questions for free! Feel free to contact one of our offices to learn how you can begin your journey towards greater health!