Physiotherapy: Spending Money to Save Money

    Recent studies indicate that individualised physiotherapy treatment adds up to reduced health care costs and improvements in quality of life.

The Australian Bureau of Statistics 2011-12 National Health Survey estimates that 70-90% of the population will experience back pain at some point in their life. Of this population, 10% will experience significant disability as a result. 

Physiotherapy has a primary role in pain relief and the prevention of future occurrence of pain and injury in acute and chronic lower back pain (LBP). Following assessment and diagnosis of LBP, interventions include education, manual therapy, modalities, exercise prescription, and workplace intervention.

The British Journal of Sports Medicine recently published a study of 300 people with lower back pain, which compared 10 sessions of individualised physiotherapy to 10 sessions of advice. Individualised physiotherapy had more positive outcomes than advice whilst also being significantly more cost effective over a 12month period. After adding up all the healthcare costs, the individualised physiotherapy treatment was only $42 more expensive per patient, however, it was much more effective at improving quality of life.

The Australian Government rates a value for money service for a health service as having a cost to benefit ratio of less than $50,000. Physiotherapy achieved a cost to benefit ratio of $650 to improve patient’s quality of life over a year, which is significant in the treatment of people suffering from LBP and the ability to return to full function.

The study calculated that individualised physiotherapy saves $3000 per worker in income by missing less workdays and requirement of additional health services, than those who received just advice after 12 months.​
Research results demonstrate physiotherapy as a cost effective means in reducing severity of LBP, thereby improving quality of life. Early access to physiotherapy for individuals suffering from LBP results in reduced physician visits and earlier return to work. Individuals were also found to experience reduced number of sick leave compensation and medication use.

Fiona Pringle, Principal Physiotherapist at Target Physio says: “This concrete data and the Australian Physiotherapy Association Choosing Wisely initiative are a tremendous boost for practices like ours, offering one-on-one, evidence based and outcome driven physiotherapy.”

Physiotherapists create value for money, individualised programs that result in positive lifelong lifestyle changes. Meaning you spend less time hindered by a niggling or continual back pain, and more time doing what you want to do.