Cervical Pain Study Shows That Provider Choice Is Important

Cervical Pain Study Shows That Provider Choice Is Important

Cervical Pain Study Shows That Provider Choice Is Important

When it comes to getting appropriate medical treatment, a person’s choice of provider is important on many levels. A new study out of UC Davis shows just how important it is. According to the study, a person’s first choice affects everything that happens afterward.

Researchers at UC Davis focused on patients with acute cervical pain for their study. They looked at data regarding medical services patterns covering everything from medical providers to follow up treatments. Their findings are fascinating from a clinical perspective. We suspect that patients might have their own thoughts on the matter.

The Study’s Basic Premise

The study’s basic premise is this: the very first provider a patient sees for acute cervical pain has an impact on everything from the tests performed to the treatments recommended. A patient would likely get a different result by seeing a chiropractor first as compared to an orthopedist. The quality of the results would differ according to how the two types of clinicians recommended proceeding with diagnosis and treatment.

All of this makes perfect sense. There are different ways to approach acute cervical pain. There are different treatment approaches among clinicians. Most importantly, patients react differently to similar treatments. So there are a whole lot of things that need to be taken into account.

More About the Study

For their study, researchers had access to more than 200 million patients through stored electronic data. They studied the records of more than 770,000 acute cervical pain patients produced between 2016 and 2019. Finally, the data was examined based on initial provider specialty and the services provided during a 180-day follow-up period. Here are just some of the things they discovered:

  • Provider Specialty – The most common initial provider by specialty was the chiropractor at a rate of 45.2%. Primary care doctors were the second most common initial providers at a rate of 33.4%.
  • Subsequent Visits – With the exception of patients who first saw ER providers, the majority of patients tended to seek the same type of provider, by specialty, for subsequent treatments.
  • Patient Insurance – Patients who tended to seek out the same type or provider also tended to have insurance that did not require a chiropractic referral.
  • Treatments – Patients who chose chiropractors or physical therapists as their initial providers received mostly manipulative and physical therapies. Patients who chose orthopedists first were more likely to receive injection therapies.

There is plenty more from the study we could discuss in this post. However, the point is that a patient’s first choice of provider plays a key role in how that patient is treated. By extension, a patient’s second choice is also important.

Seeing a Pain Management Specialist

Cervical pain is uncomfortable at the very least. It can be debilitating in the most serious cases. Therefore, a medical provider’s treatment approach matters. It matters enough that we recommend seeing a pain management specialist.

A pain management doctor’s approach to managing chronic pain is likely to be far different from an internist’s approach to acute pain. Not only are the two clinicians dealing with different types of pain, but they also have different ways of addressing it. In pain medicine, our approach revolves around the concept of helping people manage pain so that it doesn’t control their lives.

Although the UC Davis study focused on acute cervical pain, it’s fair to extrapolate the data it produced across all of medicine. The first provider a patient chooses for new treatment affects both diagnoses and treatment recommendations. If you are living with chronic cervical pain, see a pain management physician first.

No Comments

Post A Comment