While back pain may seem like a common medical problem, it can nonetheless disrupt your daily activities and reduce your overall quality of life if left untreated. Anyone can have back pain since the causes can range from bad posture to serious medical conditions.
Depending on the cause, the NIH explains that back pain can range from a dull muscle ache to a sharp, shooting sensation. It can also be felt in different parts such as the lumbar region (lower back) or cervical spine (up to the neck).
The complexity of the causes, symptoms, and types of back pain thus requires a variety of approaches for diagnosis and treatment. Telemedicine can be relevant in this context as it can help you connect with a specialist who can provide you with ongoing care. Here’s how you can use and take advantage of the growing availability of telemedicine services in the United States.
Background On Telemedicine
Telehealth is a broad term that encompasses all kinds of health services provided over a distance through the use of telecommunications technology. While telehealth services have existed for years, the pandemic-related barriers to healthcare facilities have accelerated the use and popularity of telehealth.
SAGE Journals published a survey on telehealth use in 2020, and the findings reveal that around 50% of U.S. households utilized telehealth services since in-person care and visits were not available.
The study was not able to cite specific details on what type of care was needed or what the purpose of telehealth use was, although it explained that the increased access to care via telehealth can be attributed to the alleviation of geographic and payment barriers.
Telehealth is often used interchangeably with telemedicine, but the latter is only a subset that specifically refers to clinical care. Telemedicine Includes but is not limited to patient privacy compliance, diagnosis, treatment, medication management, and consultation.
The expansion of telemedicine across the US comes with the growing demand for remote nurse practitioners in Ohio and other states like Utah that are similarly facing a shortage of healthcare professionals.
Through telemedicine, patients who live in rural or underserved areas can receive high-quality, patient-centric virtual care at the same standard as in-person healthcare facilities. Even if their doctors, specialists, and nurses work remotely from different locations, telemedicine platforms seek to coordinate care and maintain continuity.
The Benefits Of Telemedicine For Back Pain
Whether you choose to schedule your first appointment or continue ongoing care for your back pain, telemedicine can make your healthcare experience convenient, accessible, cost-effective, and integrated.
New technological advancements and institutional collaboration are increasingly supporting telemedicine as an alternative and viable delivery model.
Convenient And Accessible Care
The primary driver for telemedicine is the delivery of healthcare wherever and whenever. A previous post about ‘Back Pain Statistics’ states that about 37% of Americans experience back pain but do not consult medical professionals.
Fortunately, telemedicine can break down the barriers to seeking treatment. Since you cannot guarantee that there is a professional within your area who is qualified to diagnose and treat back pain, telemedicine can expand the options available by connecting you with specialists outside of your city or state.
Telemedicine also enables you to meet with specialists even when the back pain is hindering your mobility or when you cannot fit the healthcare visit into your schedule, since you only have to use your phone, tablet, or computer from the comfort of your home.
Affordable Costs Of Care And Treatment
An estimated $200 billion of annual healthcare costs can be traced back to otherwise preventable and avoidable spending, such as administrative tasks and unnecessary emergency room visits.
With telemedicine now offering the automation of patient health records and monitoring, you can expect the expenses to be much lower and your visits more efficient. The convenience and accessibility of telemedicine also feed into cutting down transportation and/or parking costs.
Treatment of back pain can come in the form of medication, chiropractic treatment, physical therapy, or a combination of these. It is unrealistic for just one provider to offer all-inclusive treatment, so telemedicine links you to a network of specialists without breaking down the continuity of care.
For example, your doctor can outsource the evaluation of your x-rays to a radiologist from another state; you can consult different specialists from different areas without having to reintroduce your health history and status every time. If you are in post-surgery care, you can connect and engage with your doctor more easily and frequently.
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