Physical Therapy Can Provide You With Faster, Safer, and More Effective Relief Than Opioids
Long-term opioid consumption is not a good strategy for chronic pain management. In addition to the risk of addiction, opioids simply reduce the pain that comes as a result of a bigger issue, rather than solving the problem at hand.
Physical therapy has been shown to be a much better option than opioids or other pharmaceutical painkillers for very real, measurable improvement of chronic pain. If you are considering opioids but would like to explore other pain relief options first, please contact our office to talk to a physical therapist today!
How physical therapy can help you find long-term relief
Researchers at Stanford University have shown that when turning to physical therapy early on (as soon as a person is diagnosed with musculoskeletal pain), the need for opioid pain prescriptions is greatly reduced. Among patients requiring pain relief opioids, the duration of use of painkillers was reduced by as much as 10%.
Physical therapy helps patients to cure the source of the pain rather than masking the source of the pain. If a patient suffers from arthritis or any other type of chronic pain, a physical therapist may teach a patient how to move and use key muscle groups in such a way that the source of pain does not worsen.
Another goal of physical therapy is to strengthen muscle groups that support aching or painful parts of the body so that real healing can take place. Your physical therapist will design a personalized treatment plan that will produce measurable results in pain relief. Because PT targets the source of pain, you can often eliminate the need for prescription painkillers or opioids with PT alone.
Opioids are not a cure for pain
The opioid epidemic in America has been so severe in recent years that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is now recommending that patients explore alternative options for pain relief.
The opioid epidemic is a very real (and very deadly) problem. It’s believed that some 2 million Americans suffer from an opioid use disorder such as addiction. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, an average of 130 people die from opioid overdoses every day here in the U.S. Since 1999, the number of opioid-related deaths has multiplied sixfold.
Many people who become addicted to opioids were first prescribed by a medical doctor to treat acute or chronic pain. The problem is, opioid medications:
- Are associated with an increased risk of uncomfortable withdrawal symptoms and depression
- Only hide symptoms of pain—they don’t address the underlying causes, which makes opioids less cost-effective over time
- Can be highly addictive
The CDC recommends that opioids be considered as the “last option” for only the worst cases of pain. Alternative and holistic pain relief methods, including physical therapy, do not pose the extreme risks of addiction and overdose that opioids do.
It is important that anyone suffering from pain should understand that opioids will not solve the underlying physical problem that causes pain. In fact, opioids can actually make the original problem worse.
Suppose, for example, that a person has been dealing with chronic pain several months after surgery to the shoulder. The shoulder may be healed, but the pain persists. If the patient relies on opioids to soften the pain, they can run the risk of re-injuring their shoulder.
Pain is the body’s way of telling us something is wrong. With opioids, the patient may use their shoulder muscles incorrectly and ultimately make the underlying problem worse.
If the same patient had worked with a physical therapist for pain relief, they would have had a much better chance of completely eliminating the pain in the long-term. Through physical therapy, manual therapy, proper exercise, body mechanics, and posture work, you can find the relief you’ve been searching for – all without turning to addictive opioid painkillers.
Schedule a consultation with a physical therapist today!
If you have been living with chronic pain and would like to know more about how physical therapy can help, please call our office today to schedule your first appointment with a licensed physical therapist!
We’ll help you find long-term pain relief so you can live life comfortably.