Reducing Your Dependence on Medications (and Other Benefits) to Physical Therapy

Since the late 1990s, doctors have prescribed opioids for pain. Pharmaceutical companies, at the time, assured doctors that these pain medications were safe, but people started to misuse these drugs, which turned out to be highly addictive when not used properly.

Overdose rates have climbed in recent years, forcing the federal government to declare the misuse and addiction to these painkillers a serious national crisis. Every day, more than 130 people in the United States die from an opioid overdose. Hundreds of thousands more suffer from addiction and substance abuse disorders.

Sadly, these substance abuse issues often stem from a prescription for opioids to treat chronic pain. Research shows that 21-29% of people end up misusing their prescription medications and 8-12% of them develop an opioid misuse disorder. And 4-12% who start with a prescription for opioids go on to use heroin.

Physical therapy for pain

But we at Joyce Family Chiropractic and Wellness want you to know that there’s good news for those who do suffer from chronic pain. If you turn to physical therapy before pills, research shows that there’s a dramatically decreased likelihood that you will need opioids.

Opioids mask the problem, while physical therapy can help you address muscle weakness and improve posture through strengthening and stretching exercises. Additionally, in combination with a physical therapy program, massage, acupuncture, and application of heat or cold to the problem area can also relieve pain, inflammation, and stiffness.   

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recently released guidelines recommending nonpharmacologic therapy and nonopioid pharmacologic therapy such as physical therapy as the preferred treatment for chronic pain.

Other benefits of physical therapy

In addition to reduced need or use of pain medications, physical therapy has many other benefits for your body, health, and lifestyle.

Increase mobility

Not only can physical therapy help you reduce pain, but it can also help you move more. Pain and injury can keep you sidelined. It’s important to be active for your health and weight in general. Physical therapy can help address walking or moving problems whether they’re due to aging, an accident, an injury, or lifestyle.

Avoid surgery

Before you turn to an invasive procedure with a lengthy recovery period, try physical therapy for your aches and pains.  For some common conditions, such as knee arthritis, rotator cuff tears, and spinal stenosis, physical therapy may be able to treat your condition and help you avoid surgery.

Recover more quickly from surgery

If your condition does warrant surgery, then seeing a physical therapist post-surgery is integral in aiding your healing and recovery. A physical therapist can help devise an exercise and stretching plan for your specific medical issue.

Are you recovering from an injury, suffering from chronic pain, or experiencing limited mobility? Call Joyce Family Chiropractic, located in the Mount Greenwood neighborhood of Chicago, to find out how physical therapy can help you return to a pain-free, active lifestyle and lower your dependence on pain medication at the same time. You can also make an appointment online through this website.

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