More than 191 million opioid prescriptions were dispensed to American patients in 2017—with wide variation across states. Some of the most common prescription opioids:

Some of the contributing factors to that alarmingly high number is the inconsistency among doctors as to what injuries actually require an opioid prescription. The following are the most common injuries associated with opioid prescriptions.

Spinal Injuries

As with most serious or traumatic injuries, doctors will prescribe opioids. As we’ve stated in another blog, The Opioid Crisis: Deadly but Preventable, 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.

While the initial injury may require opioids, as the patient starts to recover, physical therapy can be paramount in treating pain and restoring functionality.

Chronic Pain

Chronic pain is a diagnosis if your pain lasts more than 90 days. It is not uncommon for doctors to prescribe opioids to patients that are suffering from chronic pain. However, opioids only mask the pain; they don’t treat it. Additionally, chronic pain can come from other injuries, and you might only notice it after you have finished your prescription. This can be deceiving because you may think that you need the prescription to deal with the pain. You don’t.

Minor Injuries

While not common, there are reported incidents of physicians prescribing opioids over minor injuries. Normally, the injuries could be dealt with over the counter medicine or physical therapy. Even if your doctor is going to prescribe it, do not take opioids if the pain can be managed with over the counter medication. The risks of addiction and the side effects are too steep of a price.

The power of physical therapy to help prevent people from starting opioid use has been well-documented. Physical therapy has a long history as an essential component of interdisciplinary pain management. It is a risk-free alternative that can help you learn to treat the source of your pain rather than masking its effects.

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. Find your nearest location here.