When injured workers with low back pain (LBP) receive guideline-recommended interventions, they typically return to work sooner, according to a study published in PLOS ONE. Researchers quantified the influence of adherence to guide- line-recommended interventions in the first week of treatment for an initial LBP injury on lost workdays. California’s workers’ compensa- tion claims data (May 2009 to May 2018) were used to extract 41 diagnostic and treatment in- terventions for 59,656 workers with acute LBP injuries. In the first week of treatment, 14.2% of workers received only recommended interven- tions, 14.6% received only non-recommended interventions, and 51.1% received both recom- mended and non-recommended interventions. During the study period, opioid prescriptions fell 86%. Significantly fewer lost workdays were seen among workers who received only guide- line-recommended interventions, a 29.3% re- duction compared with workers who received only non-recommended interventions. During the study period, the percentage of workers re- ceiving only recommended interventions in- creased from 10.3% to 18.2%.
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