Surprisingly, almost 70% of Americans report that lower back pain has a negative impact on their everyday lives. While about half of those affected with pain in the lower back attempt to relieve it through exercise, many patients choose to forego treatment for their chronic back pain altogether. Given the positive effect that physical therapy and other surgical treatments can have on chronic back pain, the fact that many sufferers refuse consultation and follow-up treatment can be surprising.
Walk in clinics see their fair share of patients with back pain: about 3 million patients attend walk in urgent care clinics around the country, citing low wait times and reduced cost of treatment. Many urgent care clinics are staffed and owned by physicians, making referrals for further treatment easily obtainable from experienced staff.
About 20,000 doctors are in the field of urgent care, and many back pain sufferers report that they choose urgent care because back pain often strikes outside of regular doctors’ office hours. The majority of urgent care walk in clinics are open seven days a week, and while the most common patient complaints were bronchitis and other upper respiratory illnesses, urgent care facilities are equipped to deal with a broad range of illnesses and conditions.
Doctors at urgent care medical clinics should also be able to provide guidance to patients with longstanding back issues who are ready to seek out medical help and physical therapy options. To reduce pain, many doctors encourage patients to take physical therapy: for knee pain and back pain, the exploration of non-surgical options may allow patients to resolve pain without having to undergo surgical treatment.
With urgent care walk in clinics located throughout the country, patients who have not yet sought treatment for chronic back pain may be able to discuss their condition with an on-staff physician or other medical professional. Having a conversation to explore surgical and non-surgical options for back pain may be the first step in reducing or eliminating a highly treatable problem that affects millions of Americans every year.