Study shows consultation is more efficient treatment for back pain | Column

A new study published in the Feb. 1 issue of Spine concludes that a consultation with a physical medicine and rehabilitation (PM&R) physician before proceeding to surgery results in more efficient treatment for low back pain, high patient satisfaction, and fewer surgeries.

“The Effect of Required Physiatrist Consultation on Surgery Rates for Back Pain” reports data from Priority Health, an insurance company that began to require that its patients with non-urgent, spine-related pain or disability see a PM&R physician, also known as a physiatrist, before proceeding to surgery.

After one year, there was a net decrease of more than $14 million in total spine care costs.

As a result of patients consulting with a PM&R physician before any surgical referrals, the number of spine operations dropped 25 percent and referrals for surgery decreased 48 percent. Patient satisfaction with this treatment for their back pain increased. Over 70 percent of the patients surveyed were satisfied or very satisfied with the physiatrics consultation they received.

For more information, contact Rehabilitation Sports & Spine in Bothell at 425-252-4700.


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