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Physical Therapists

Physical therapy is not a subspecialty of the medical profession and physical therapists are not medical doctors; we are a separate profession that provides a unique service that physicians are unable and untrained to provide - APTA 2009

Physical Therapists

image by: Roger Mommaerts

"I am the first one to admit that treating patients with low back pain is not for sissies. There is no great way to sub-classify patients with low back pain and it is difficult to predict which intervention is going to be best for a given patient. However, there are some general recommendations which just about every up-to-date treatment guideline recommends. These are things like stay active, no need for imaging in most cases and avoid opioids.

Despite the solid evidence behind these recommendations, a recent study out of Harvard showed that primary care physicians are getting worse at treating patients with low back pain. Over a 11 (1999-2010) year period the study found a 106% increase in referrals to other physicians, 57% increase in advanced imaging, a 51% increase in the use of narcotics and a 0% increase in physical therapy referrals (20%).

It would be frustrating to see no improvement over 12 years, but this significant movement in the wrong direction is a hard pill to swallow. I wonder what it will take to change the medical culture in our society. Apparently a 90 billion dollar a year price tag is not enough."

Source: It's Getting Worse? Forward Thinking PT, July 13, 2013.


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