Often when our patients encounter sudden knee pain, their inclination is to apply the usual home remedies and just “wait it out.” Knee pain can also develop slowly over time, and again, some people’s approach is to ignore it and hope it just goes away. This may not be the best approach for heading off problems down the line, however.
According to a new study published in the June issue of the American Physical Therapy Association’s (APTA) scientific journal, Physical Therapy (PTJ), rehabilitation—including physical therapy—provided within 1 to 15 days of the onset of knee pain may significantly reduce the use of opioids, non-surgical invasive procedures such as joint injections, and even surgery, in patients with non-traumatic knee pain. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in March of last year likewise recommended physical therapy over opioids for most long-term pain management.
Your physical therapists and interventional pain management specialists at The Medical Group of South Florida (MGSFL) have noticed this phenomenon repeatedly. The sooner you can get in to see us, the more success you’ll encounter in regaining full mobility and freedom from pain.
And now this new study backs up our clinical observations. The authors analyzed data from a sample of 52,504 Medicare beneficiaries who exhibited non-traumatic knee pain for 12 months. Although evidence-based clinical guidelines recommend that such patients receive therapeutic exercise as the first treatment for such pain, the researchers found that only 11% of the sample studied received this care.
“We were surprised to find a low percentage of patients received outpatient rehabilitation for their knee pain,” said lead author Joel M. Stevans, DC, PhD. “Our research further emphasizes the importance of working with colleagues from other disciplines to better understand how patients can be directed.”
And this is where your consulting the physical therapists and interventional pain management specialists at MGSFL confers an advantage during your treatment, because we work in the same facility as many of the other physicians you are likely to see for this complaint; we can easily coordinate your care across a wide range of disciplines, ensuring you receive the latest therapies, along with clear communication among all your doctors and specialists.
The PTJ report strongly recommends “increased and more immediate use of rehabilitation services” not only to speed recovery, but to reduce the need for other more invasive procedures in the future.
“We believe this will help reduce utilization of health care services that are more invasive or may place patients at greater risk,” said study coauthor G. Kelley Fitzgerald, PT, PhD.
We agree, and urge you to contact us at the onset of knee—or any other type of pain—so that we can help you toward faster resolution of this common problem.