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#ChoosePT: Physical Therapy Alternative to Opioids for Chronic Pain Treatment


Chronic pain can be debilitating, preventing people from participating in activities they love and completing tasks they need to do. Opioids are often prescribed for pain relief, but are they really the best choice, or do the risks outweigh the benefits?

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.”

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