The opioid epidemic has been big news. No one wants to live in constant pain, but many people also don't want to face the risks associated with opioid painkillers.
Opioids are highly addictive and can lead to depression, overdose and withdrawal symptoms – stealing one's quality of life and destroying relationships in the process. While opioids are appropriate in certain situations, they usually are NOT the best first course of action. If you develop musculoskeletal pain, like back or neck, shoulder, knee or hip pain, choose to see a physical therapist first. Physical therapy has been found to be an effective alternative to surgery for many musculoskeletal conditions including meniscal tears, knee osteoarthritis, and rotator cuff tears. In many cases, you can visit a physical therapist via direct access, and you can get started on the road to recovery right away. Your PT can assess your condition and refer you to a specialist if necessary, but many times your condition can be managed in the PT clinic.
Whereas opioids only mask the sensation of pain, physical therapists treat pain through movement and exercise, helping patients improve strength, flexibility, and range of motion. Manual therapy is a hands-on approach to treating pain. It can reduce pain and improve movement. Physical therapists also educate their patients about pain, understanding their patient’s pain history and then helping their patient to set realistic goals, which has been known to improve their outcome. You are in control of your healthcare, and understanding the dangers of opioid medication use and abuse can help you make the best decisions for your pain management strategy. Pain-free movement is essential to your quality of life and independence. Contact your local physical therapist to discuss, evaluate and help you with your pain today!