Are Doctors Always Going To Help Me Feel Better?

For generations upon generations society has lead us to believe that, if something is wrong with our body, we should go to a doctor.

This belief still remains true in many cases. However, when it comes to things like muscle or joint pain and associated loss of function, relying on a physician may never get you the relief you are seeking.

In a study published in 2012 that was carried out by Fritz, Childs, Wainner and Flynn; a group of 32,070 people across the United States with lower back pain was examined. These people saw a primary care physician for this pain. Then they were placed into categories based on whether or not physical therapy was used within 90 days. The group was then broken down into subgroups based on timing of start of therapy (“early” was within 14 days of the appointment and “delayed” was anything after that). They were also divided based on content (how adherent they were to the physical therapy regiment). Healthcare costs related to that group’s lower back pain over the next 18 months was also researched. You’ll likely be surprised at the findings of this study.

Only 7% – SEVEN PERCENT – of those 32,070 patients with lower back pain were actually referred to physical therapy. The incidence of referral to physical therapy was greatly varied in regards to geographic location across the country. Those who received “early” physical therapy within 14 days of seeing their primary care physician were noted to have a decreased need for advanced imaging, additional visits to their doctor, surgery, injections and pain killers when compared to the “delayed” referral group. Furthermore, the total healthcare costs for lower back pain was $2736.23 LOWER for those receiving “early” physical therapy.

Now, although this is a relatively staggering assessment of how healthcare works, or doesn’t work, in our country, there is something else that must be considered when presented with this information. As mentioned previously, only 7% of those 32,070 patients were referred to physical therapy. What happened to the other 93%? What did their primary care physician do with them?

The answer is a sad truth. The answer is that, for the other 93%, those doctors prescribed pain killers. They told those patients they need surgery or gave those patients injections to temporarily relieve the pain in hopes that it would never return. They instructed those patients to rest or informed those patients that it was just old age. The list of frustrating and unacceptable “solutions” that these doctors prescribed goes on and on.

Even worse, these patients likely don’t realize that what these doctors are doing for them is not the best option. Why? Because for generations upon generations society has lead us to believe that, if something is wrong with our body, we should go to a doctor.

If you are experiencing pain, weakness, balance issues or anything else that is preventing you from functioning like you used to – please reach out to Dr. Allen. He is more than happy to help. The decision is yours but it is a very important one – allow Dr. Allen to help you make the right decision without any hassle or commitment necessary.

Here is the link to the article explained above if you would like to read into it more thoroughly:

Primary care referral of patients with low back pain to physical therapy: impact on future healthcare utilization and costs

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