MobileMSK | Blog

Learn more about the problem of back pain and stay up to date on our solutions.

December 21, 2022

Unfortunately, there is no simple fix for back pain. While many cases of back pain will subside on their own, recurrence is common. Those who suffer from back pain are likely to visit a clinic many times. This leads to missed opportunities at work or home, feelings of frustration, anxiety, and high healthcare costs. Ultimately, it may seem like you’ve tried everything to manage your pain, but it keeps coming back. The experience of pain may set the tone for the rest of your life.

With the right indications, surgery is often viewed as a simple fix for back pain. However, the actual benefits of surgery are a subject of great controversy. One of the most popular spine surgeries, vertebral fusion, has relatively unclear benefits. Other types of surgery, like discectomy or laminectomy, demonstrate positive outcomes that fade away with time. This supports the importance of nonsurgical interventions like rehabilitation and cognitive behavioral therapy. For some patients, nonsurgical therapy can be leveraged before and after a procedure to optimize the outcome.

Seeking to understand your pain and navigate the complexities of treatment can seem daunting. Here at MobileMSK, we are designing a virtual-first solution to improve treatment outcomes and the experience of managing back pain. We believe that healthcare should meet you in your home, or wherever you are most comfortable seeking care. Stay tuned for a new model of optimized care coordination and delivery to free you from the burdens of living in pain.


Resources:

Chou, R., Atlas, S. J., & Givens, J. (n.d.). Subacute and chronic low back pain: Surgical treatment. UpToDate. Retrieved from https://www.uptodate.com/contents/subacute-and-chronic-low-back-pain-surgical-treatment#references

Huff, C. (2022, November 1). No easy 'off Switch' for low back pain. ACP Internist. Retrieved from https://acpinternist.org/archives/2022/11/no-easy-off-switch-for-low-back-pain.htm?utm_campaign=FY22-23_NEWS_ETOCINTERNIST_DOMESTIC_110422_EML&utm_medium=email&utm_source=Eloqua

Lallukka T, Mänty M, Cooper C, et al Recurrent back pain during working life and exit from paid employment: a 28-year follow-up of the Whitehall II Study Occupational and Environmental Medicine 2018;75:786-791.

November 23, 2022

Back pain shares many similarities to, and often co-presents with issues of mental distress. While you may have to wait several weeks to receive an evaluation for back pain, the wait is often longer for mental health services. This leaves many people searching for alternative ways to cope with their concerns.

Exercise is regularly touted as a solution for boosting mood and preventing mental health crises from emerging in the first place. Furthermore, exercise is proven to improve the experience of coping with pain. In most cases of back pain, exercise is recommended as an early and ongoing therapy. Unfortunately, fears of causing serious injuries or exacerbation of pain can limit your willingness to be active.

Compounding effects of physical and mental distress can wreak havoc on the quality of your life. MobileMSK is working to provide early detection and management of these conditions in the home, or wherever you are most comfortable seeking care. We want to free you from the inefficiencies of traditional care so you can focus on healing and living your best life.


Resources:

https://www.psychology.org/what-to-do-on-a-therapy-waitlist/

Barnett K, Mercer SW, Norbury M, Watt G, Wyke S, Guthrie B. Epidemiology of multimorbidity and implications for health care, research, and medical education: a cross-sectional study. Lancet. 2012 Jul 7;380(9836):37-43. doi: 10.1016/S0140-6736(12)60240-2. Epub 2012 May 10. PMID: 22579043.

https://www.thelancet.com/journals/lanpsy/article/PIIS2215-0366(18)30227-X/fulltext

https://www.nami.org/Blogs/NAMI-Blog/December-2021/How-I-Developed-a-Healthy-Relationship-with-Exercise-to-Help-My-Mental-Health

Ashar YK, Gordon A, Schubiner H, et al. Effect of Pain Reprocessing Therapy vs Placebo and Usual Care for Patients With Chronic Back Pain: A Randomized Clinical Trial. JAMA Psychiatry. 2022;79(1):13–23. doi:10.1001/jamapsychiatry.2021.2669

October 26, 2022

The traditional model for healthcare, volume-based care delivered through siloed specialty practices, does not work for back pain. This is why back pain is a notoriously difficult problem to manage and is consistently ranked among the most expensive conditions to treat in the United States.

For back pain, you should receive a comprehensive, interprofessional evaluation during the initial onset of pain. In many cases, back pain will resolve without ongoing medical care. Primary management can focus on addressing a multitude of inciting factors using convenient, cost-effective therapies delivered outside of the clinic. Engaging with strategic health and wellness programming can prevent future cases of back pain from occurring.

Unfortunately, there are major differences between providers and communities in their strategies for managing pain. This makes it difficult to set expectations for relief. It can also lead to frustration, poor engagement, escalation of underlying conditions, and ultimately, invasive and costly procedures. MobileMSK is committed to using technology to resolve issues with the primary evaluation and management of back pain. Please explore some of our current product offerings and reach out to our team to learn more.


Resources:

https://www.who.int/bulletin/volumes/96/5/17-204891.pdf

https://www.jospt.org/doi/10.2519/jospt.2012.0101

September 28, 2022

Did you know, the average wait time for a physician’s appointment has been reported at over three weeks in the United States? This is a major flaw in the current state of healthcare that contributes to the growing prevalence of disease and disability in our society. Since most cases of acute back pain resolve on their own within a few weeks, many patients fail to seek clinical attention at all.

Early clinical attention is important for establishing the root cause of back pain and its most likely course of progression. In the vast majority of cases, healthcare professionals can identify patterns that lead to long lasting relief. It is also important to rule out the rare cases of emergent back pain that require more immediate and aggressive treatments.

For most patients, some form of physical therapy will be prescribed as part of their treatment program. Patients who engage in a physical therapy regimen early during the onset of their pain can save as much as 60% on healthcare costs related to their condition. Accounting for additional social and medical factors during the initial evaluation of pain supports streamlined care. MobileMSK is committed to optimizing care for back pain using software. We believe that everyone should have access to the highest level of professional and personalized care throughout their journey to relief.


Resources:

Https://www.Merritthawkins.Com/uploadedfiles/merritthawkins/content/pdf/mha2017waittimesurveypdf.Pdf

https://bmchealthservres.biomedcentral.com/articles/10.1186/s12913-015-0830-3

August 31, 2022

Our last blog focused on the importance of workforce health and safety for communities. Now we would like to dig deeper into the business case of this matter. The United States Department of Labor suggests that the costs for workers’ compensation alone have approached $1 billion per week. This is a shocking figure, considering workers’ compensation payments account for only a fraction of direct costs related to workplace issues of health and safety.

Organizations also face substantial indirect costs whenever an employee’s health suffers. Indirect costs are things like overhead. They are generally inherent to doing business, but measures can be taken to mitigate excess spending. With respect to employee health and safety, organizations incur costs for lost productivity, as well as any measures taken to compensate for missing staff and faulty workflows.

While some issues are totally unpredictable, we believe that all organizations should invest in musculoskeletal care. MobileMSK’s digital health solutions can help to reduce organizational healthcare costs and improve the lives of employees suffering from back pain. Please explore some of our current product offerings and reach out to our team to learn more.


Resources:

https://www.gfoa.org/materials/strategies-for-managing-health-care-costs

Goetzel, RZ, Anderson DR, Whitmer RW, Ozminkowski RJ, Dunn RL, and Wasserman J. The relationship between modifiable health risks and health care expenditures: an analysis of the multi-employer HERO health risk and cost database. J Occup Environ Med. 1998;40(10): 843-854.

Ozminkowski RJ, Ling D, Goetzel RZ, Bruno JA, Rutter RR, Isaac F, Wang S. Long-term impact of Johnson & Johnson’s Health & Wellness Program on health care utilization and expenditures. Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine. 2002;44(1):21-29.

https://www.osha.gov/businesscase/costs

August 3, 2022

Individual misfortune can reverberate throughout organizations, eventually shaping how these organizations serve their communities. While we empathize with our patients, who suffer the most in dealing with pain, we need to acknowledge the issues that back pain creates for employers and other institutions. For most of these organizations, the health and safety of workers has dramatic effects on their bottom line. This is something that became readily apparent during the COVID-19 pandemic, when healthcare organizations themselves faced staffing shortages that limited their ability to serve their surrounding communities. Furthermore, the situation surrounding COVID-19 has redefined expectations for employers' roles in keeping workers healthy both on and away from their job sites. New standards are emerging for organizations to care for their communities beyond the typical boundaries of their operations. At MobileMSK, we are supporting this paradigm by building the next generation of digital health solutions integrated with providers’ workflows.


Resources:

https://www.indeed.com/career-advice/career-development/taking-care-of-your-employees

https://www.indeed.com/career-advice/career-development/types-of-employee-benefits

July 6, 2022

Back pain represents a major burden on society overall. In addition to having some of the highest costs for treatment, back pain is the leading reason that people miss work and spend their days in bed. While this is a major issue for those suffering from pain, it also causes problems for employers and other institutions in our community.

Establishing early and ongoing contact with professional rehabilitation services is fundamental to addressing the problem of back pain. However, navigating traditional health systems to receive quality care can be difficult. For example, people living in remote areas are faced with exaggerated burdens of travel, missed work, and coordination of other responsibilities such as childcare.

Healthcare is faced with this paradox: We have amazing technologies and staff to keep our communities healthy. However, many of the benefits of healthcare fail to extend beyond the walls of our medical facilities. Now, this doesn’t necessarily have to be the case. Here at MobileMSK, we believe that healthcare should meet patients in their homes, or wherever they are most comfortable seeking care. If you would like to see this change taking place in your community, please follow the links below to support our team.


Resources:

United States bone and joint initiative: the burden of musculoskeletal diseases in the United States (bmus), third edition, 2014. Rosemont, IL. Available at http://www.Boneandjointburden.Org.

https://www.iasp-pain.org/resources/fact-sheets/the-global-burden-of-low-back-pain/

June 8, 2022

Did you know, back pain is among the most expensive health conditions to treat? In fact, within the last decade, more money was spent on treatments for back pain than for diabetes and heart disease. While most of these costs are deferred to third-party payers, navigating traditional health systems to receive care is still a major source of fees for patients themselves.

Costs associated with back pain can be reduced by as much as 60% with an early referral to physical therapy. Unfortunately, it is not uncommon for patients to schedule multiple appointments with local providers before they begin an adequate rehabilitation program. Furthermore, due to systemic issues of supply and demand, it can take weeks for these patients to complete an initial evaluation of their pain. Delays in the normal course of care can lead to the development of more serious and expensive conditions over time.

At MobileMSK, we believe that everyone deserves access to effective resources for managing their pain. If this sounds helpful to you, please click on the links at the bottom of this page to subscribe to future content and reach out to our team.


Resources:

Dieleman, j. L., Cao, J., Chapin, A., Chen, C., Li, Z., Liu, A., Horst, C., Kaldjian, A., Matyasz, T., Scott, K. W., Bui, A. L., Campbell, M., Duber, H. C., Dunn, A. C.,Flaxman, A. D., Fitzmaurice, C., Naghavi, M., Sadat, N., Shieh, P., … Murray, C. J. (2020). US health care spending by payer and health condition, 1996-2016. Jama, 323(9), 863. Https://doi.Org/10.1001/jama.2020.0734

Childs, J. D., Fritz, J. M., Wu, S. S., Flynn, T. W., Wainner, R. S., Robertson, E. K., Kim, F. S., & George, S. Z. (2015). Implications of early and guideline adherent physical therapy for low back pain on utilization and costs. BMC health services research, 15(1). Https://doi.Org/10.1186/s12913-015-0830-3

May 11, 2022

Approximately 1 in 3 people worldwide could benefit from rehabilitation services. This equates to roughly 2.5 billion people with at least a minor disability. Out of all health conditions that could benefit from rehabilitation, back pain is by far the most devastating. Back pain is a major cause of years lost to disability, causing people to exit the workforce early and live unnecessarily difficult lives.

Unfortunately, ongoing rehabilitative care is often perceived as a specialized service meant for only the most disabling conditions. Otherwise, people fail to realize all of the benefits of rehabilitative care, such as higher productivity at work or pain free leisure. While most cases of back pain will improve without clinical interventions, it is important to establish contact with professionals who can help you evaluate the root cause of your pain.

At MobileMSK, we are dedicated to democratizing access to rehabilitative care. We believe that early and ongoing rehabilitation is important for anyone experiencing pain. If you are interested in supporting this work, please take some time to explore the links at the bottom of this page.


Resources:

https://vizhub.healthdata.org/rehabilitation/

April 13, 2022

Did you know, 8 in 10 people will experience back pain in their lives? In fact, this is one of the leading reasons for people to visit their doctor in the United States. If you haven’t experienced a bout of back pain yet, it is likely that you will sometime in the future. Back pain is a frustrating condition that can sneak up on anyone, young or old.

Fortunately, back pain rarely indicates a serious underlying medical disorder. However, if you experience back pain that lasts for more than a few days, it is recommended that you speak with a healthcare provider. Even minor aches and pains, if left untreated for too long, can progress to chronic, debilitating conditions.

Here at MobileMSK, we believe that establishing early and ongoing contact with local providers is important for improving community health outcomes. If this is something that resonates with you, please take some time to support our progress. Scroll to the bottom of this page for options to subscribe to future content and connect with our team.


Resources:

https://medlineplus.gov/backpain.html

https://www.ninds.nih.gov/Disorders/Patient-Caregiver-Education/Fact-Sheets/Low-Back-Pain-Fact-Sheet

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