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The MedRisk Blog

Statistic Spotlight: Groundbreaking Guideline Requires Nonsurgical Treatment of LBP

A new assessment of lower back pain surgery is declared “often ineffective” by the Ohio Bureau of Workers’ Compensation.

A recent study has persuaded the Ohio agency that oversees the workers’ compensation program to reject spinal fusion surgery and opioid prescriptions as an early response to back pain. The change came about after research showed that spinal fusion surgery is “often ineffective,” and can lead to complications. In return, the complications may then result in increased opioid use.

The state now requires workers with occupation-related back injuries to participate in a minimum of 60 days nonsurgical care – including physical therapy – while avoiding opioids. 

Ohio is not the first state to diminish payments for surgery, however, they are the first to include a warning on the use of opioids. The 60-day approach is more aggressive than other states but is defended by the Ohio Bureau of Workers’ Compensation. This policy went into effect on January 1, 2018

News Now Staff. “Ohio Workers’ Comp Program Requires Nonsurgical, Nonopioid Treatment of LBP as a First Step.” APTA, 12 Jan. 2018,