Physical therapy is a highly effective way to manage chronic pain – and it’s also a safe alternative to opioid use. October is National Physical Therapy Month, which aims to raise awareness about the advantages of physical therapy, as well as the dangers of opioid misuse.
Why Physical Therapy is Important
When you work with a physical therapist, you treat your pain and strengthen your body through a variety of techniques, including education, movement and exercise, massage, and manual therapy. This rehabilitative approach helps heal injuries, promote mobility and function, and prevent other chronic conditions.
Physical therapy is a powerful non-drug treatment option that shows positive long-term results. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (the CDC) cites “high-quality evidence” that physical therapy is especially successful at reducing pain and improving function in cases of low back pain, fibromyalgia, and hip and knee osteoarthritis.
A study published in Health Services Research found that patients who saw a physical therapist before seeking other treatment for lower back pain were 89% less likely to need an opioid prescription. Since opioid misuse is a growing problem in the U.S. – with more than 11 million people abusing prescription opioids in 2016 – physical therapy is an important alternate course of action.
How Physical Therapy Helps Manage Pain Safely
Unlike opioids, physical therapy does not simply dull or mask chronic pain; it is designed to improve your overall mobility and quality of life.
Your physical therapist works with you to understand your pain and define your individual treatment goals. Do you want to get back to your old exercise routine? Are you hoping to be able to run errands and do household chores without assistance? Are you ready to go back to work full-time? You will take an active role in your own treatment, partnering with your physical therapist to set realistic expectations and strive for attainable objectives.
Learn how physical therapy fits into The Len Cerullo Method’s holistic approach to pain management