Physical And Financial Advantages of Not Ignoring Pain

Stop Ignoring Pain

cost-savings of direct access

This illustration from Virginia Mason Medical Center Shows the cost savings experienced when they changed how they referred patients with back pain.

People tend to experience the best physical therapy outcomes when they handle pain early.

One study in September’s New England Journal of Medicine showed that injured amateur athletes who waited one week longer took two weeks longer to recover than those who went into treatment sooner.

Even individuals who begin treatments within two weeks of receiving a referral experience better outcomes.  This timing, termed early referral, leads to less costs in imaging, specialists, surgery, etc. It also costs the healthcare system less overall.

How Chronic Pain Fits In

What about chronic pain (lasting longer than three months)? Maybe you’ve adjusted to your condition and developed a workable life routine.

Be that as it may, it’s important keep an eye out for other treatments that can help you be as active as possible, especially if the activity level you’ve been used to is being threatened.

That’s because the body adjusts to physical and mental trauma. It also adjusts to our everyday habits. Posture worsens. Connective tissue dries up. Muscles shrink or become tight. Joints become compromised. Gait changes.

One pain can lead to other pains. For example, back pain, which is a common physical complaint, has been linked to numerous chronic pain culprits such as fibromyalgia and piriformis syndrome.

Physical therapists use their deep understanding of movement correction to help people and manage their pain. Also, physical therapy can reduce the chances of developing chronic pain following an injury.

functional exercise in physical therapy

Patients benefit from consulting physical therapists quickly and without a referral. During the consultation, a physical therapist can determine injury types and whether those injuries can be treated with physical therapy.

Furthermore, treatments are getting better all of the time. Understanding of musculoskeletal function, manual techniques, and functionally-rehabilitative exercises improves. Also, we use technologies such as electrical stimulation and deep tissue laser therapy, which are powerful means of pain reduction.

Direct Access

When you decide to handle your pain, it’s actually easy for you to do so and not worry that you’re going in the wrong direction.

What makes us so confident in saying this?

It’s called direct access. In Illinois this means that no referral for physical therapy is required until after an initial physical therapy evaluation. It can cut out a lot of waiting time, such as waiting for a doctor’s appointment and then waiting for a physical therapy appointment.

As licensed therapists, we are competent at differential diagnosis, or deciding if your condition can benefit from therapy. In that case, direct access may help to avoid costly medications, injections and even surgery in some cases. Alternatively, if a therapist determines that non-PT treatments would be better, he or she can provide a referral to the appropriate specialist.

The bottom line is that most people can benefit from noninvasive medical treatments. Others with critical illnesses or severe joint dysfunction do require more invasive methods. In either case, a physical therapist is here to provide an extra layer of counsel as you decide the best course of treatment for your pain. Only decide sooner rather than later. Your health depends on it.