In March 2016, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) released guidelines urging doctors to consider opioid medication “only if expected benefits for both pain and function are anticipated to outweigh the risks to the patient.” Every day, more than 1,000 people are treated in emergency departments for misusing prescription opioids. Since 1999, more than 165,000 people in the United States have died from opioid pain-medication-related overdoses. “As many as 1 in 4 people who receive prescription opioids long-term for non-cancer pain in primary care settings struggles with addiction,” the CDC cites.
“Experts agreed that opioids should not be considered routine therapy for chronic pain,” the CDC guidelines state. Instead, prescribers should recommend non-opioid treatments, including physical therapy. Physical Therapy is a safe and effective alternative to opioids for long-term pain management and prevention.
Physical Therapists are trained to improve physical function and treat pain through movement, rather than just masking the sensation of pain. Physical Therapy can offer an alternative to opioids for long-term pain management and can provide services consistent with CDC guidelines. Treatment can decrease and prevent pain, which may be due to muscle and joint tightness leading to impaired movement and poor posture. There are a multitude of ways to treat pain with PT, including, but not limited to: movement, hands-on care, and patient education. By increasing your physical activity you can also reduce your risk of other chronic diseases.
When it comes to your health you have a choice in treatment options….Choose PT!
Reference: APTA and #ChoosePT campaign.
-Stephanie Schwartz, MPT, CSCS, Dedham Health Physical Therapy