Currently, in the state of Colorado patients can access their Physical Therapist without a referral from another healthcare provider such as primary care physician. This model of care has been utilized since the 1950's throughout the country and is most notable in our military where our soldiers have direct access to their Physical Therapists. In both the civilian and military worlds seeing a Physical Therapist first is both clinically and cost effective for patients, saving an average of $1000 per plan of care. For the majority of musculoskeletal conditions exercise is the key intervention to reduce pain and improve function. There is no better healthcare profession than Physical Therapy for the design and implementation of an exercise program for patient's in pain. A new research paper was released demonstrating the importance of exercise in the management of hip osteoarthritis.
Hip osteoarthritis is a common condition leading to pain, loss of motion, weakness and loss of function in many middle to older aged adults. Prior research has shown exercise therapy's ability to reduce pain and improve function in patients with hip osteoarthritis. A recent study compared the cost of exercise therapy and primary care to primary care interventions alone (Tan et al. Osteoarthritis Cartilage. 2015). Over 200 patients were followed over the course of a year and their medical expenses were collected. The authors reported exercise therapy was a less costly treatment option compared to primary care alone.
To learn more on how Physical Therapy and exercise can save you money and improve your quality of life contact your local Physical Therapist.