Today’s issue of WorkCompRecap features the release of a new study from WCRI that found workers with low back pain who received manual therapy early within two weeks of their physical therapy care had lower medical costs and fewer days away from work than those who received it later.
Key findings included that early manual therapy was associated with lower costs and shorter temporary disability duration as compared with late manual therapy (after 2 weeks of PT care). Early manual therapy was also associated with a lower likelihood of receiving MRI, pain management injections, and opioids, as compared with late manual therapy. WCRI also noted that among workers with low back pain, those who received manual therapy had higher costs and slightly longer TD durations than those who did not but received other PT services, which may reflect differences in injury severity or underlying health conditions. Longer periods of observation (18 months+) may also be important, however, when considering cost effectiveness.