Early physical therapy benefits low-back pain patients: Analysis of 150k claims shows health, cost upsides

Patients with low-back pain are better off seeing a physical therapist first, according to a study of 150,000 insurance claims. The study, published in Health Services Research, found that those who saw a physical therapist at the first point of care had an 89 percent lower probability of receiving an opioid prescription, a 28 percent lower probability of having advanced imaging services, and a 15 percent lower probability of an emergency department visit — but a 19 percent higher probability of hospitalization.