Long-term use of opioids is not an effective chronic pain management technique. Besides the possibility of dependencies, opioids actually ease the symptoms (distress) of a bigger problem. Physical therapy has been proven to be much better and safer than opioids or other prescription pain medication for very significant, observable relief.
If you are taking prescription medication for a chronic pain problem you know there are healthier options out there that don’t pose bigger threats to your health.
Contact our office to talk to a physical therapist if you are considering opioids for pain relief, but would like to try other options first!
The danger of opioids
The opioid epidemic in America has gotten so serious in recent years that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is now recommending that patients explore alternative options for pain relief.
- Opioids are the most commonly used medication for pain management across the United States. Even though they are commonplace, they contain some shockingly harmful facts:
- Opioids are a highly addictive substance and are the most commonly abused prescription medication.
- Opioids are a highly dangerous class of substances. Heroin is among the opioid category, as well as prescription pain relievers like oxycodone, hydrocodone, morphine, and more.
- More than 2 million people in the United States become addicted to pain medication every year, many of the medications being opioids.
About a quarter of heroin addicts began their addiction through prescription opioid dependency.
The CDC recommends that opioids now be considered as a “last option” for only the worst pain cases. While it is true that alternative and holistic pain relief methods, including physical therapy, don’t work as fast as opioids, these methods do not carry the extreme risks of addiction and overdose.
Opioids don’t solve the problem.
Anyone suffering from pain must understand that opioids will not solve the underlying physical problem that is causing the pain.
Opioids can make the original problem even worse. Physical therapy allows an individual to understand the root cause of their pain instead of just treating the symptoms.
For example, let’s say a person is suffering chronic pain several months after having shoulder surgery. The wound from surgery has long since healed, but the pain persists. If that patient relies on opioids to dull the pain, they run the risk of re-injuring their shoulder. Why?
Because they can’t feel the pain, so they won’t know if they are moving a certain way that their body can’t handle. Pain is the way the body tells us that something is wrong. With opioids removing the pain, that patient might be using their shoulder muscles incorrectly and ultimately making the underlying problem worse.
If that same patient were to work with a physical therapist on pain relief, however, they would stand a much better chance of eliminating the pain for good. Their shoulder could be healed through physical therapy, manual therapy, proper exercise, body mechanics, and posture work — all without turning to addictive opioid painkillers.
Physical therapy provides pain relief that truly lasts.
Physical therapy helps patients to cure the source of the pain, rather than ignoring the source by dulling the pain. If a patient suffers from arthritis or any other type of chronic pain, a physical therapist can teach that patient the proper ways to move and utilize key muscle groups so that the pain source does not worsen.
Research conducted at Stanford University has shown that receiving physical therapy within three months of a musculoskeletal pain diagnosis reduces a patients’ risk of long-term opioid use by about 10 percent. Among patients who did require opioids for pain relief, the duration of using painkillers was reduced by as much as 10 percent.
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 choice to pursue physical therapy will not be a quick solution to pain relief, in most cases.
But your physical therapist will construct a customized plan that will produce measurable results in pain relief. Because the work will be geared toward curing the source of the pain, you can often eliminate the need for prescription painkillers or opioids.
There’s a healthier way to get pain relief.
Are you leaning on opioids for pain relief from an injury, or as you recover from an intensive surgery? If you suffer from chronic pain and want to know more about how physical therapy can help you find relief in a safe, natural way, contact NYC Wellness today to schedule your first appointment with a licensed physical therapist.
- About the Epidemic | HHS.govwww.hhs.gov › opioids › about-the-epidemic
- Early physical therapy can reduce risk, amount of long-term …med.stanford.edu › news › all-news › 2018/12 › early-ph…
Tags: physical therapy, Joint pain, wellness, Natural treatment, health, Natural pain relief, health and wellness, physical therapists, healthy tips, opioids, physical health, aches and pains, physical activity, chronic pain