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A Positive Solution to Opioid Abuse

Opioid abuse has become a serious problem

In 2014, Americans received 245 million prescriptions for opioid pain medication. While these drugs are very effective at eliminating sensations of pain, opioids also come with considerable risk for the patient. For long-term solutions, patients should seek out physical therapy to help in the recovery process. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) said that “Nonpharmacologic therapy and nonopioid pharmacologic therapy are preferred for chronic pain.” The CDC also said that “If opioids are used, they should be combined with nonpharmacologic therapy and nonopioid pharmacologic therapy, as appropriate.”

Physical therapy is an effective, long-term solution to injuries or chronic pain that cannot be replicated through opioid use. Here are just 4 of the many benefits of using physical therapy.

1) Treat Pain at the Source

Opioids are effective at masking sensations of pain, but they do nothing to treat the cause of the pain. Physical therapy does not hide the pain but resolves the injury and allows patients to resume their daily lives without the need for medication to get through the day.

2) Unique Treatment

Physical therapy is not a one-size fits all approach to recovery. Since physical therapy is personalized, both the patient and the therapist are active in determining the needs of the patient. Physical therapists work with their patients to find the best course of action to achieve the established recovery goals.

3) Avoid Surgery

With physical therapy, people with injuries to muscles and tendons can work with their physical therapist to repair the damage and avoid the need for costly and potentially invasive surgery. Researchers in Finland conducted a study where they assessed the repair rates of people who had surgery and physical therapy and the rates of those who just had physical therapy and found that the rates of improvement were “substantially similar.”

4) Safe Treatment Option

Physical therapy is a safer option for patients than opioid prescription. Approximately 1 in 4 adult patients who are prescribed opioids struggle with addiction-related issues.

Dr. Trisha Perry, our Senior Vice President of Physical Therapy Services at Nova said, “Physical therapy is a safe and effective way to manage pain; through education, manual therapy, and exercise, physical therapists can reduce the need for prescription medications.”

“At Nova, we provide early, individualized care based on current research and clinical practice guidelines to promote excellent patient outcomes, improve patient function, reduce the risk of re-injury, and promote stay at work for our occupational athletes.”

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