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Join Amee L. Seitz, PT, PhD, DPT, Associate Professor of Physical Therapy and Human Movement Sciences at Northwestern University, for this hybrid presentation hosted by the College of Health Sciences and Professions' Physical Therapy program. 


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Low back pain represents a significant health care burden in the United States and accounts for nearly four million emergency department (ED) visits per year. In nearly two-thirds of these visits, an opioid medication is administered or prescribed, making low back pain the most common reason for which opioids are prescribed. Despite this aggressive medication-based approach, patient outcomes after an ED visit for back pain remain poor. After three months, nearly half of all patients report persistent functional impairment, and one in five patients report continued opioid use. Nearly one in three ED visits for low back pain results in a plain radiograph, despite multiple professional society guidelines advising against routine imaging. ED-initiated physical therapy (ED-PT) is a promising new resource to improve patient care for low back pain. The Northwestern Embedded Emergency Department Physical Therapy (NEED-PT) protocol was established for an ongoing randomized trial. We hypothesize that patients receiving NEED-PT will experience greater improvement in functioning and lower use of opioids, and that ED visits with NEED-PT will utilize less diagnostic imaging.


About the Speaker: 

Amee L. Seitz PT, PhD, DPT is an Associate Professor in the Department of Physical Therapy and Feinberg School of Medicine at Northwestern University. Dr. Seitz graduated with a Bachelor of Science in Physical Therapy from Ohio University. She has an Advanced Masters in Orthopaedic Physical Therapy and transitional Clinical Doctorate from MGH Institute Health Professions, and a PhD in Rehabilitation Science from Virginia Commonwealth University. Dr Seitz leads the DPT musculoskeletal curriculum at Northwestern University with primary teaching responsibilities in lumbar and shoulder content. The goal of her research is to improve treatment outcomes for individuals with musculoskeletal disorders to prevent the transition from acute to chronic musculoskeletal pain. Her current research is focused on elucidating underlying neuromuscular mechanisms associated with failures of joint replacements for patients with shoulder osteoarthritis, neuromuscular control as a contributor to shoulder instability, and PT embedded care in the Emergency Department for patients with acute LBP.  

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