For most episodes of a new onset of back pain, I am not a proponent of someone rushing to get treatment right away. In most instances, if a person attempts to stay active, changes positions frequently, minimizes worry about their back, and continue to get good sleep, the pain will gradually subside after a few days.
However, what if it doesn't? After a few days, what if it is not seeming to improve, or is getting worse? In this situation, it might be better to call me and get in for some treatment and advice sooner, rather than waiting further. This is supported by research.
In a 2018 research paper by Elizabeth Arnold and colleagues, the impact of the timing of physical therapy on a variety of outcomes was assessed. In reviewing 11 studies that looked at the timing of physical therapy treatment for an acute onset of low back pain, the authors concluded that getting treatment within the first 30 days of the onset of back pain reduced the need for further health care utilization (further Dr. visits, MRIS, X-rays, etc), decreased overall cost, reduced opiod use, and may improve health care efficiency i.e. how soon you get better.
What does this mean for you? If you are experiencing an new onset of low back pain, it is totally appropriate to give it a few days to see if it starts to get better on its own-most back pain will. however, if yours is not getting better, or is getting worse, call me to get some assistance. Overall, it may help you recover quicker, decrease the need for further care, and importantly reduce the risk that you will be given risky medications.
Please reach out if you needs some help.
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