Back Pain Patients May Be Getting The Wrong Treatment

According to a study published in JAMA Internal Medicine, pain patients are among the majority of individuals who receive improper treatment. The number of people reporting back pain is rising and new technologies and therapies are being created to better treat these injuries without surgical intervention. A July 2013 article from USA Today reveals that patients suffering from back pain conditions are often getting the wrong treatment.
At ONE Brain and Spine Center, patients can ensure they are getting the best and most effective treatment possible. Offering brain and spine aid to patients in Irvine and surrounding California areas, Dr. Burak Ozgur is committed to accurately and efficiently treating every patient.
In general, pain management techniques are grouped in three categories: physical therapy, pain medications/injections, and invasive procedures. Today, many physicians are ordering exceedingly aggressive approaches to treatment of back pain.
On July 29, 2013, the Journal of the American Medical Association Network publication released the findings from two national surveys that assessed the results of physician visits between 1999 and 2010. The surveys evaluated 24,000 patients with both acute and chronic back pain. The researchers found that:

  • Narcotic drug prescription increased from 19% to 29% from 1999-2010
  • Physician referrals increased from 7% to 14%
  • Scans (ie CT and MRIs) increased from 7% to 11%
  • Physical therapy remained the same- 20%
  • The recommendation for NSAIDs per visit decreased from 37% to 24.5%

The results of the survey found that physicians may be turning to narcotic drugs, expensive imaging tests, and referrals too quickly. Conservative treatment involves nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, such as ibuprofen, aspirin, and Aleve, as well as physical therapy. The American College of Physicians caution doctors from choosing imaging or narcotics early in treatment.
The study claims that because “health care costs [are] soaring, improvements in the management of back pain represent an area of potential cost savings for the health care system while also improving the quality of care.” Physicians may be choosing an easier route to care by ordering expensive imaging tests and narcotic medication. Professor of health care policy and medicine at Harvard Medical School, Bruce Landon, explains that it is “often easier to offer [patients] something rather than explaining why more aggressive treatments and testing won’t make them better in the long run.”
At ONE Brain and Spine Center, the physicians, surgeons, and entire medical staff never take the easy route. We spend quality time with each patient and assess every option for treatment. For the best care in all of California, call and schedule an appointment at ONE for your back pain condition.
ONE Brain & Spine Center is the premier spine and brain center in Irvine, California, offering minimally invasive spine surgeries and minimally invasive orthopedic surgeries. For more information or to make an appointment, please call (949) 383-4190.
The advice and information contained in this article is for educational purposes only, and is not intended to replace or counter a physician’s advice or judgment. Please always consult your physician before taking any advice learned here or in any other educational medical material.

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