Many of my physical therapist friends say that Physical Therapy is your FIRST, best choice for consumers - before drugs, before surgeries, before scary, invasive, expensive diagnostic imaging like MRI and CAT scan.
Physical therapists can treat and prevent painful disability - this is the kind of problem that, unlike heart attacks, strokes and cancer - may NOT kill you but may leave you paralyzed, immobile or wheelchair bound.
You may have difficulty with simple things in life:
- Getting up out of a chair
- Playing with your grandkids
- Climbing stairs
But, I want to show you why physical therapy may also be your LAST, best choice!
From the journal Health Affairs (Sept 2005):
"Among community-dwelling elderly, spending growth among the least disabled grew more quickly than among the most disabled, which offsets some of the cost savings associated with declining disability rates."The good news is that disability rates have been falling, relative to population growth, for several years:
People are living longer, in less pain and less disability. Costs, for this cohort, are not costs - they are an investment. We are investing in better quality of life for America's seniors...
|Outpatient Therapy Task Force 2|
They use, on average, $857 in outpatient therapy per year - higher than any other group of Medicare beneficiary.
Can we attribute the declines in disability to the higher utilization of therapy services? Do survivors tend to use therapy services disproportionately?
Currently, therapy services are "defaulted" when physicians can't find a surgical lesion to cut. Or, when medical marketing fails to convince seniors that yet another injection, drug or operation will help them feel better
If therapy services can be shown to reduce disability in America's oldest cohort then American's may want to continue spending in this area by targeting therapy dollars to the group most able to benefit - America's oldest citizens.
Physical therapy may be their last, best choice.