An analysis of health insurance claims data for people who presented with musculoskeletal pain to an outpatient physician office or an emergency department in the US assessed information from 88 985 opioid-naive patients aged 18 to 64 years with a new diagnosis of musculoskeletal shoulder, neck, knee, or low back pain. The mean (SD) age of those assessed was 46 (11.0) years, and 26 096 (29.3%) received early physical therapy (also referred to as physiotherapy). After adjusting for potential confounders, early physical therapy was associated with a statistically significant reduction in the incidence of any opioid use between 91 and 365 days after the index date for patients with shoulder pain, neck pain, knee pain and low back pain. For those who did use opioids, early physical therapy was associated with an approximately 10% statistically significant reduction in the amount of opioid use, measured in oral morphine milligram equivalents. This study suggests that early physiotherapy intervention can reduce the risk of perpetuating opioid treatment after first presentations with various musculoskeletal pain, which is clearly in the interests of protecting these people from potentially serious opioid-related harm in the future. The full paper can be viewed here.
Early physio = less later opioids
Jul 25, 2019