Patients who received physical therapy early after an episode of acute low back pain had a lower risk of subsequent medical service usage than patients who received physical therapy at later times, say authors of an article published April 20 in Spine. Medical specialty variations exist regarding early use of physical therapy, with potential underutilization among generalist specialties, they add.
For this retrospective cohort study, the authors analyzed a national sample of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services' physician outpatient billing claims. Patients were selected who received treatment for low back pain between 2003 and 2004 (n = 439,195). To eliminate chronic low back conditions, patients were excluded if they had a prior visit for back pain, lumbosacral injection, or lumbar surgery within the previous year. Main outcome measures were rates of lumbar surgery, lumbosacral injections, and frequent physician office visits for low back pain during the following year.
Based on logistic regression analysis, the adjusted odds ratio for undergoing surgery in the group of enrollees that received physical therapy in the acute phase (<4 weeks) compared with those receiving physical therapy in the chronic phase (>3 months) was 0.38, adjusting for age, sex, diagnosis, treating physician specialty, and comorbidity. The adjusted odds ratio for receiving a lumbosacral injection in the group receiving physical therapy in the acute phase was 0.46, and the adjusted odds ratio for frequent physician office usage in the group receiving physical therapy in the acute phase was 0.47.
APTA member Charles R. Scoville PT, DPT, recently was named a finalist for a Samuel J. Heyman Service to America Medal—an award that pays tribute to America's dedicated federal workforce. Honorees are chosen based on their commitment and innovation, in addition to the effect of their work on addressing the needs of the nation.
Scoville, who served in the US Army for 29 years, is chief at Amputee Patient Care at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center. Established in 2003, the program has helped service members with amputation lead active lives, with some returning to duty, through a novel sports medicine approach. The internationally recognized program combines traditional medical and counseling services with a physically active regime for severely wounded service members.
According to an announcement in this week's Washington Post, some of the 1,450 injured service members who have been through the program have gone on to complete triathlons, climb Mount Everest, and compete in gymnastics, skiing, rowing, and other sports.
The Mayo Clinic recently joined with www.theheart.org to provide the latest news and events in the world of cardiology. The Mayo Clinic webpage provides video forums in which Mayo Clinic faculty dissect the latest trials and trends in research and patient care, a new podcast series addressing cardiology issues, the latest thoughts and reflections from the leaders of the Mayo Clinic's heart program, and a set of links to valuable Mayo Clinic resources.
The Foundation for Physical Therapy now is accepting applications for the 2012 Florence P. Kendall Doctoral Scholarships, the 2012 Foundation Research Grant, and the 2012 Magistro Family Foundation Research Grant.
The application requirements and structures for these opportunities have been updated. Be sure to review all guidelines and instructions carefully before beginning an application.
The deadline for all applications is August 15, noon, ET. E-mail the Foundation or call 800/875-1378 with questions.
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