- Patients with musculoskeletal shoulder, neck, knee, or low back pain who received early physical therapy (PT) within 90 days of seeking treatment were about 10% less likely to use opioids than those who did not undergo PT.
- Early PT was associated with a 5%-10% reduction in opioid use among those with shoulder, knee, or low back pain who did receive an opioid prescription, but not those with neck pain.
Why this matters
- Nearly half of all adults in the United States are affected by musculoskeletal pain.
- Insurance claims data used to evaluate 88,985 opioid-naive patients (aged, 18-64 years) with new diagnosis of musculoskeletal shoulder, neck, knee, or low back pain.
- Funding: National Institute on Drug Abuse.
- 29.3% patients received early PT.
- Early PT was associated with a significant reduction in incidence of any opioid use between 91 and 365 days for patients with:
- shoulder pain (OR, 0.85; P=.003),
- neck pain (OR, 0.92; P=.03),
- knee pain (OR, 0.84; P<.001 and>
- low back pain (OR, 0.93; P=.004).
- shoulder pain (−9.7%; P=.03),
- knee pain (−10.3%; P=.007), and
- low back pain (−5.1%; P=.046).
- Significant difference not observed for neck pain (P=.30).
- Residual confounding.
Coauthored with Antara Ghosh, PhD