Every year, the American Physical Therapy Association (APTA) focuses on a specific topic during October, National Physical Therapy Month. This year is the 25th anniversary of National Physical Therapy Month. The opioid epidemic is such a drastic problem in the U.S. that this year APTA is continuing to bring awareness to it. By keeping up its #ChoosePT campaign, the association is emphasizing the point that physical therapy is an “effective” alternative to taking opioids to treat chronic pain.

According to a report by the National Center for Health Statistics, part of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, fatalities resulting from consuming synthetic opioids such as Vicodin, OxyContin, Opana and methodone) doubled year over year from 2015 to 2016.

Generally, according to the statistics, drug overdoses resulted in the deaths of more than 64,000 Americans in 2016, up from 52,898 in 2015.

5 Reasons to Choose Physical Therapy Over Opioids

Typically, physical therapy is the best course of treatment. However, there are times when a combination of limited opioids as well as physical therapy works best. Here are some reasons to select physical therapy in most cases:

  1. Physical therapy doesn’t come with the side effects associated with opioids. Consumption of opioids can result in dizziness, nausea, vomiting, respiratory depression, overdose, and addiction, according to the National Institutes of Health.
  2. Opioids only reduce the sensation of pain. Physical therapists actually treat patients’ pain by working with patients on improving their movement and overall quality of life.
  3. According to the CDC, problems related to low back pain, hip or knee osteoarthritis, or fibromyalgia, are best treated with physical therapy, or exercise.
  4. While opioids are prescribed for pain, the CDC says that patients should receive the lowest possible dosage, and they should be combined with physical therapy for the best results.
  5. According to the CDC, when pain lasts 90 days, “clinicians should consider opioid therapy only if expected benefits for both pain and function are anticipated to outweigh risks to the patient.”

In celebration of National Physical Therapy Month, Access Physical Therapy & Wellness is participating in PT Day of Service. On Oct. 18, an Access Physical Therapy & Wellness team luncheon will be dedicated to the physical therapists there.

If you, a family member or friend are suffering from an opioid addiction, we can help. Please visit our locations page to find an office near you and schedule an appointment.

To participate in the conversation on social media, use hashtag #ChoosePT in your posts.