Luna Research Recap Part 2 of 4: Earlier PT Reduces Costs for Neck and Low Back Pain Patients

How the Early Application of PT Intervention Impacts the Efficacy of Care
By Ben Wobker, PT, MSPT, CSCS, SFMAc
Luna Research Recap Part 2 of 4: Earlier PT Reduces Costs for Neck and Low Back Pain Patients

In our recent webinar, we talked about how earlier physical therapy can reduce costs for neck and low back pain in patients.

In the webinar, we discuss how the total LBP-related costs were the summed amounts of LBP-related medication and medical costs. All costs included both insurers’ payments and enrollees’ out-of-pocket cost sharing over the 1-year period after the index date.

Over a 12-month period, we found that patients save on average per day:

  • $70 on medication
  • $51 on imaging

The total of $1,600 LBP-related costs does not include:

  • Opportunity costs for patients of lost work
  • Family time
  • PTO
  • Professional development/advancement (ie.: promotions, commissions, bonuses etc)


Study of costs associated with the timing of physical therapy in 7k patients with a diagnosis of LBP 1

Costs $

Immediate <3 days

(Early PT)

Delayed 15-28 days


Pain medication costs



Advanced imaging costs



LBP-related medical costs



Total LBP related costs



Faster access of patients to PT appointments, resulting in savings on average of $1,616 for the patient & payer. 2



The data above might seem difficult to put into context, but for payers these are critical numbers as every claim counts…literally.

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The webinar covers:

  • What Does Earlier Care Mean to Recovery?
  • Can Earlier Access to Physical Therapy Reduce Costs for Neck and Low Back Pain?
  • Can At Home Physical Therapy Increase Adherence to Plan of Care?
  • Can Physical Therapy Decrease Unnecessary Imaging and  Procedures?

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