The opioid crisis is spreading through the country like a plague, and unfortunately, the number of deaths linked to opioids has been steadily rising. The following statistics are frightening but real.

  • Roughly 21 to 29 percent of patients prescribed opioids for chronic pain misuse them.
  • Between 8 and 12 percent develop an opioid use disorder.
  • An estimated 4 to 6 percent who misuse prescription opioids transition to heroin.
  • Roughly 21 to 29 percent of patients prescribed opioids for chronic pain misuse them.
  • Between 8 and 12 percent develop an opioid use disorder.
  • An estimated 4 to 6 percent who misuse prescription opioids transition to heroin.*

Like most people, you probably think “that will never happen to me,” “I would never use opioids,” “I know how to moderate myself,” or if you’re dealing with chronic pain, “I need them to deal with the pain.” However, the fact is, when presented with the option of dealing with pain or being prescribed a pill to moderate it, most choose the latter. However, there is another option that can help manage the pain without the use of opioid, physical therapy.**

So before you decide to use a drug as the cure to your symptoms, ask yourself these questions.

Do the risks of opioid use outweigh the rewards?

Some of the potential side effects of using opioids include depression and addiction. If you get addicted to opioids, you have an increase in the chances that you’ll overdose. More so, when you stop using opioids, you have to deal with withdrawal symptoms.

The CDC guidelines state that risks are much lower with non-opioid treatments, even if long-term options are limited.

Do you want to do more than mask the pain?

Opioids reduce the sensation of pain by interrupting pain signals to the brain. They don’t cure any of the issues. On the other hand, physical therapists work with their patients to treat pain through movement. Their goal is not only to decrease pain but also improve mobility and quality of life.

Are the opioids prescribed for pain?

If opioids are prescribed, the CDC recommends that the patients receive a low dosage, and the treatment should still include non-opioid treatments, like physical therapy.

Has the pain lasted more than 90 days?

If your pain has lasted more than 90 days, it’s considered chronic pain, and having chronic pain increases the risk for continued opioid use. To avoid the chance of forming an opioid addiction, you should always attempt to treat chronic pain with a non-opioid treatment first.

One of the specializations of Access Physical Therapy & Wellness is helping patients deal with pain and chronic pain. We have 35+ locations located in New York, Pennsylvania, Connecticut, and North Carolina. Before taking a prescribed opioid, contact us, and let advise you on how we can help. To find out the closest location to you, visit www.accessptw.com.

*Statistics come from https://www.drugabuse.gov/drugs-abuse/opioids/opioid-overdose-crisis

**The CDC guidelines recognize that prescription opioids are appropriate in certain cases, including cancer treatment, palliative care, and end-of-life care, and also in certain acute care situations, if properly dosed