Opioid prescriptions are common among low back pain patients. 52% of all of these prescriptions are for patients with low back pain, and over 2 million Americans suffer from an opioid use disorder. 47,000 of these people have died from opioid use disorder in 2017. Boston university school of public health researchers wanted to find better options for low back pain management because of this. A patient’s initial choice of healthcare provider was found to play an important role in their prospects for a successful outcome for both patient and insurance company.
Let’s look at some other choices for low back pain treatment.
Because of these findings, a major health insurance carrier sent a notice to their policy holders that promoted initial care for low back pain with either a chiropractor or physical therapist. This meant that spinal imaging tests were reduced by 21%, spinal surgeries by 21%, and opioid prescriptions by 19%.
Not to mention, the American College of physicians are also in support of this new choice for low back pain. Non-drug and non-surgical care should be the initial course of treatment for low back pain patient. Now, let’s take a look at some studies that look at the effectiveness of nonsurgical non-drug choices for low back pain.
2020 study was done which compare 22% of patients who first visited their primary care doctor and received a short term opioid prescriptions, and patients who first consulted with a PT or DC. The patients who consulted with a PT or DC were 85 to 90% less likely to need an opioid prescription for their low back pain.
Eight 2015 studies were performed that showed patients who first visited a DC were overall more satisfied with their care then those who visited a PCP. Treatment costs were also lower.
A 2013 study was done that looked at Washington state workers compensation cases. This found at 43% of workers with a back injury who consulted with a surgeon ended up having surgery. 1.5 of those who first received a treatment from a DC or PT eventually had surgery for low back pain.
Finally, in 2019 a study was done that showed low back pain patients were less likely to see a DC and PT. This was because of the restrictions on their insurance. If health insurance benefit changed to be less restrictive, there would be long-term economic and social benefits.
As you can see, conservative treatment approaches such as chiropractic care and physical therapy should be the first choice for low back pain. There will be a major cost saving for patients and a reduced risk of issues from opioids.
Do you have pain or discomfort? Reach out today! Through chiropractic, physical therapy and other treatment options, we have many options to help you. Schedule an appointment today or call us (212) 371-2000