Can Physical Therapy Reduce the Need for Painkillers?

Can Physical Therapy Reduce the Need for Painkillers?

Can Physical Therapy Reduce the Need for Painkillers?

“Evolving Opioid Epidemic Poses Challenges for Public Health Officials.” “Opioid Distributors Blame Pharmacies, Docs for Crisis.” “Cash-Strapped Schools Struggle to Help Children of Opioid Epidemic.”

You’ve seen the headlines, but how did we get here? The American Physical Therapy Association says in an official report, “The ongoing opioid crisis in the U.S. reflects the unintended consequences of a nationwide effort to help individuals control their pain.” The association further notes, “The health care system, since the mid-1990s, employed an approach of pain management that focuses on the pharmacological masking of pain, rather than treating the actual cause of pain.” The end result? A  dramatic increase in opioid addiction, and the growing realization that current strategies for managing pain have to be changed.

At Orthopaedic Specialists of Connecticut, we’ve treated a lot of physical injuries & chronic pain over the years. During that time, we’ve found physical therapy in our Brookfield, CT facility is one of the best ways to make patients move better, feel better, and hopefully, have less reliance on pain-killers in the long run. Our professional opinion is backed up, not only by our experience but in a recent analysis of nearly 90,000 private insurance claims recently published in the peer-reviewed JAMA Network Open Medical Journal. It found “taking part in at least one Physical Therapy Session within 90 days of diagnosis resulted in up to a 10% reduction in how many pills a patient consumed.” Imagine what a series of PT sessions might do?

After being prescribed a series of PT visits generally comprised of strengthening exercises, pain-relief exercises, stretching, low-impact aerobic training, and/or a combination of heat and ice packs, we’ve seen patients experience improved mobility, faster healing and a better quality of life.

To be clear, painkillers, when managed properly, do serve a useful purpose. In cases of extreme pain, we believe opioids can be prescribed as a first strategy in measured amounts, paired with information on the risks of addiction. We then urge the patient be advised of the benefits of physical therapy for treating pain and to prevent the onset of chronic pain – which, quite likely, would reduce the need for prescription painkillers.

Interested in finding out if Physical Therapy in our facility located in Brookfield, CT could be of benefit to you? Schedule an appointment at Orthopaedic Specialists of Connecticut. Our talented team of orthopaedic doctors can diagnose medical conditions, answer your questions and write a prescription, if appropriate, for physical therapy.

Before you leave our website, click on “our team” to meet our doctors.