Every time you turn on the news, there appears to be another article about the country’s opioid crisis. There’s reason to be concerned. Every day in 2016, 116 individuals died from opioid-related drug overdoses. Prescription pain meds were misused in some form by 11.5 million Americans, costing the economy an estimated $504 million.
According to some academics, many people who would otherwise be able to work are barred from doing so because they would fail a drug test. As staggering as these figures are, opioids may appear to be the only option for someone who relies on prescription pain medication for pain relief.
Fortunately, there is another way to manage your pain. Call our office today to find out more about how physical therapy can help you ditch the pain meds for good.
Why you should ditch the pain medication
To understand why opioids are so dangerous, you first have to understand how your brain processes pain. Let’s say you bang your knee on the door jamb. Pain receptors in your skin register that something happened to your knee.
Those receptors send signals to your brain and spinal cord. There, your brain processes those signals as pain, and your body produces natural opioids to stop them. These chemicals slow your breathing, create a feeling of well-being, and block pain signals so you can return to a pain-free state.
When you have chronic pain, severe injury, surgery, or significant trauma, your brain cannot produce enough opioids to keep up with the demand. Prescription medication mimics the chemicals your body naturally produces, relieving pain, but they do not help your body heal.
How can a physical therapist help me?
A physical therapist’s job is to improve function as well as treat discomfort. Stretches, ultrasonography, manual treatments, and a combination of ice and heat for pain management may be part of your physical therapy program, but it won’t end there.
Your physical therapist will begin working with you on mobility, flexibility, and strength as they relate to your daily activities.
If you’re one of the 116 million Americans who suffer from chronic pain, you’re probably limited in your ability to walk, stand, run, move, work, play, and conduct daily tasks.
Physical therapists help you strengthen your body, improve your balance and stability, and improve your quality of life by addressing all of these functions and more.
Physical therapy’s unanticipated benefits don’t end with the body. They also get to your brain. Chronic pain and the usage of prescription pain relievers can cause anxiety, despair, and social isolation.
Working with a physical therapist gives you a partner in your pain relief journey. This sense of community can help address the mental toll pain takes on a person in a way that opioids cannot.
The natural healing properties of physical therapy
Since opioids mask the pain without treating its underlying cause, many people are choosing to forgo pain meds altogether in favor of a more natural treatment.
Fortunately, physical therapy not only helps relieve pain, it addresses what is causing the pain in the first place. A physical therapist is a highly trained medical professional, but he or she also is an expert in the science of movement.
Your physical therapist can uncover the source of your discomfort and find strategies to treat it for long-term health and mobility using advanced diagnostic procedures. Physical therapy is also a drug-free option for managing chronic pain.
People who suffer from arthritis pain frequently turn to costly surgery, steroid injections, and prescription drugs to alleviate their symptoms. Patients with severe arthritis may benefit from these treatments in some cases. Physical therapy and natural therapies are frequently the better routes to go.
Arthritis does not discriminate either, and although it tends to be found often in elderly patients, it can affect anyone at any age. According to a study on JAMA, “[rheumatoid] arthritis (RA) occurs in about 5 per 1000 people and can lead to severe joint damage and disability.” Arthritis is also one of the top causes of disability in America. If left untreated by a professional, patients suffering from arthritis can experience extremely painful symptoms for long periods.
Find safe, effective relief today
Don’t be a part of the opioid statistic. There are safer, healthier options out there to help you quell and manage arthritis pain, as well as a variety of other chronic conditions and discomfort. Call our physical therapist today and find out how physical therapy can help you live a full, pain-free, functional life.