If you depend on pain medications to make it through the day because of a chronic pain condition, know that you are not alone. You should also know that even though this is a common pain relief solution for many Americans, it is not normal or healthy in the slightest. Our nation is currently experiencing what the U.S Department of Health & Human Services refers to as an “opioid epidemic.”
Thankfully, there is another option for this kind of pain management. Physical therapists can help individuals manage pain, and greater use of physical therapy could make a real impact on the tragic levels of drug abuse in this country—abuse that often begins with a prescription for pain medication.
Our innovative care strategies at Chesterton Physical Therapy will help you find quick relief. If you are ready to find relief without the side effects of opioids, contact our physical therapy clinic today.
Why are opioids so dangerous?
People often confuse over-the-counter drugs and opioids, but they’re two different things.
When people turn to over-the-counter medications for pain relief, there aren’t many significant health risks. For the most part, Advil, Tylenol, and Ibuprofen are safe to use in moderation if you are trying to find immediate relief when recovering from your car accident. Excessive use can negatively affect your organs, but most people don’t need to use these pain relievers very often.
When it comes to severe pain caused by a more serious injury you may have sustained, prescription-strength medications may be issued by a doctor. However, with severe pain comes severe medication and side effects as well.
Opioids are the most commonly used medication for pain management across the United States. Even though they are common, there are some shocking facts about them that the general public might not even be aware of, such as:
- Opioids are a highly dangerous class of substances. Heroin is among the opioid category, as well as prescription pain relievers like oxycodone, hydrocodone, morphine, and more.
- Opioids are a highly addictive substance and are the most commonly abused prescription medication.
- More than 2 million people in the United States become addicted to pain medication every year, many of the medications being opioids.
- About a quarter of heroin addicts began their addiction through prescription opioid dependency.
These facts paint a bleak picture regarding the reality of prescription pain medication use across the United States. While disturbing, these statements cannot be ignored.
It isn’t necessary to have a history of addiction to become dependent on opioids. In fact, many people who become addicted have never had any issues with drug dependency in the past. Fortunately, physical therapy can help provide the same pain relief in a much safer, healthier, and natural way.
How physical therapy can kick an opioid addiction
Physical therapy is effective for avoiding unnecessary surgery and for getting rid of a person’s dependence on opioids. This is why physical therapy is often the first point of entry in the healthcare system for pain management. The goal of physical therapy is to improve function and reduce pain. Both active and passive modalities are used in many forms of treatment.
A physical therapist will educate you on the source of your pain and give you tips on how to manage your daily activities in order to reduce or eliminate pain. Pain education is an important component of physical therapy intervention!
What to expect at a physical therapy appointment
Chronic pain can make you curl up in bed and turn to opioids for pain relief. This solves nothing and is likely to only make your problem worse. If you’re tired of living with addiction, understand that you can say “no” to opioids with the help of physical therapy.
It’s important to note that physical therapy can be implemented to treat all types of neuropathic pain and musculoskeletal pain. It can help alleviate pain due to osteoarthritis, fibromyalgia, rheumatoid arthritis, neuropathic pain, headaches, and more.
A physical therapist utilizes a number of different pain management methods, such as deep tissue massage, manipulation of bones, manual therapy, cold laser therapy, microcurrent stimulation, movement therapy, and exercise. Exercise may involve walking on a treadmill or specific exercises to strengthen the muscles. Deep tissue massage enhances oxygen and nutrients to travel to the affected area. Cold laser therapy is used to lessen pain, reduce inflammation and release endorphins. Microcurrent stimulation emits alpha waves to increase dopamine and serotonin to alleviate pain naturally.
Even just 30 minutes of exercise a day will help you to better manage your pain! The exercise plan that a physical therapist will devise for you will be focused on strengthening the muscles, increasing endurance, developing more flexibility in the joints and muscles, and creating stability in the joints.
Physical therapy is a multi-pronged approach to lessening pain. With exercise, massage, and manipulation, the body is encouraged to produce natural pain-relieving chemicals and to heal itself. Both tissue and bone will remodel with physical therapy.
A physical therapist uses the fundamental sciences of biomechanics, pathology, and kinesiology to formulate a specific exercise treatment plan for patients. They can work closely with you and your doctor to find an effective treatment plan for your pain.
Get started today
If you’re tired of using pain medication to lessen your discomfort, know that there is another way to handle this part of your life. You don’t want to be part of a negative statistic. Contact us to schedule a consultation with one of our physical therapists – and say goodbye to opioids today.