For patients with knee pain that came on for no apparent reason (referred to as non-traumatic knee pain in research), the results of a new study show that accessing care for knee pain is best done sooner than later to reduce the risk of requiring opioids for pain control, cortisone injections, and surgery. In an analysis of 52,504 subjects with Medicare insurance, patients who received rehabilitation in the first two weeks after a physician diagnosis were 33% less likely to require narcotic medications in the year following to address their pain. There were also 50% less likely to require corticosteroid injections, and a whopping 42% less likely to undergo knee surgery!
What does this mean for you? Get physical therapy at the first onset of knee pain that does not go away with conservative care at home (ice, rest, and gentle stretching) over the course of 1-2 weeks. Even one or two physical therapy visits might be all the treatment, movement advice, and home exercise program you will need to get back to your normal life and exercise routine! Most insurance plans, now including many Medicare and Medicaid plans, do not require a physician referral to be seen in physical therapy. This makes it easy for you to access the rehabilitation you need to avoid surgery for knee pain, or to extend the life of your current arthritic knee for several more years before replacement. Call MotionWorks today at 920-215-2050 to set up your initial evaluation with one of our award-winning Doctors of Physical Therapy!
Reference: Stevens JM, Fitzgerald GK, Piva SR, Schneider M. Utilization in managing Medicare beneficiaries with nontraumatic knee pain: Retrospective cohort study. Physical Therapy, 2017.97(6):615-624.