It is no secret that there is an opioid crisis plaguing the nation. In fact, just within the year of 2016, opioid overdoses claimed the lives of 116 people each day. It is also estimated that about 11.5 million Americans misuse the pain-management drugs they’re prescribed, costing approximately $504 million in economic costs. Researchers have also determined that more and more people are being denied jobs due to a failure to pass opioid-free drug tests.
It’s a frightening state of health we’re in, especially when many people believe that opioids are the only option. However, that is not the case! Physical therapy has been proven as an effective method for long-lasting pain relief – without the risks of harmful drugs. Contact our office today to find out how physical therapy can benefit you and eliminate your need for opioid use.
You may be asking yourself, “why have opioids become so dangerous for so many people?” To understand the depth of the risks, it is important to first understand pain is processed throughout the body. It may come as a surprise that much of what you feel has little to do with what is happening physically – in fact, a large portion of your pain is actually processed by your brain.
Consider this scenario: you stub your toe on the coffee table, and you immediately feel a twinge of pain. This happens because pain receptors are being sent to your brain, as a way to let you know that you have been harmed. You feel the physical pain, and as a response, your brain releases chemicals to try and ease it. These chemicals act as natural opioids by slowing your breathing, blocking the pain signals, and bringing you back to a state of well-being.
Unfortunately, in more severe cases, the brain is not able to produce enough opioids to keep up with the demand for pain relief. Therefore, if you have sustained a sudden injury, if you are recovering from surgery, or if you are suffering from chronic pain, you’ll need additional intervention to ease the pain. This is when opioids are often prescribed. Prescription medication mimics the chemicals your body naturally produces, in order to alleviate pain – but it does not help your body heal. Since your condition will remain the same without an alternative form of treatment, people often feel as if they need to take higher doses as their bodies become used to the drug. This is the main reason why overdoses occur.
Physical therapy benefits:
Physical therapy is an alternative form of treatment that will help in both easing your pain and helping your body heal. Physical therapy goes beyond pain relief and works to improve the overall function of your body by getting to the root of the problem. Unlike opioids, physical therapy aims to provide long-term relief, as opposed to short-term.
Over 116 million people struggle with chronic pain, which greatly hinders one’s ability to stand, walk, run, work, and move altogether. These areas of function will be addressed at your initial appointment and throughout the entirety of your treatment plan. The main goal of any physical therapy program is to improve the patient’s quality of life, which your physical therapist will work hard to help you achieve.
Treatment plans will incorporate a series of treatments based on the nature of your condition, aimed at providing relief and recovery. This may include any combination of targeted exercises and stretches, manual therapy, ice and heat therapies, ultrasound, or electrical stimulation. Your treatment plan will also address strength, flexibility, and overall mobility, in order to get you back to your normal physical function.
Make the change today:
Opioids mask pain without treating the underlying cause of it. Physical therapy not only helps with relieving pain, but it also addresses the condition that is causing the pain in the first place. Physical therapists are movement experts who can uncover the source of your pain through advanced diagnostic procedures, allowing them to address your condition and provide long-term health and mobility.
The effects of physical therapy also don’t stop with the body – it helps to improve your mental health, as well. Chronic pain and prescription pain medication use can lead to anxiety, depression, and isolation. Physical therapy will help get your body moving and working normally again, releasing feel-good chemicals called endorphins. Working with a physical therapist will also give you a partner in your pain relief journey, creating a sense of community that can help address the mental toll pain takes on a person, in ways that opioids simply cannot.
Physical therapy manages your pain and improves your health without the need for harmful drugs. Pain medication may seem like a simple solution, but the risks far outweigh the benefits. Ask yourself – “Why would I choose opioids when I can choose physical therapy?”