by: Dr. James Pumarada
Happy National Physical Therapy Month! Every year for a whole month, we join thousands of other fellow Physical Therapists and Physical Therapy clinics in highlighting and celebrating our profession and its' impact on health and wellness.
This year, we'll be joining the APTA in highlighting the importance of Physical Therapy in the fight against opioid addiction. Over the years, the stark rise in opioid use for chronic pain and the subsequent complications that arise are shocking, to say the least. Since 1999, prescription opioid use for chronic pain has quadrupled. In addition, deaths associated with opioid use have also quadrupled since 1999. The CDC has even gone so far as to specifically recommend Physical Therapy first as of March 2016 for chronic pain.
Overall, Physical Therapy has long been known to be the best option that patients have when dealing with chronic pain. Here's my two main reasons why:
Physical Therapy = ZERO Side Effects
You see the commercials all the time. People looking like they are having the time of their lives, and all because they took some "magic pill". But then, the hammer drops, and the commercial rather quickly tries to rush through a laundry list of side effects at the end. "Some patients can experience nausea, bleeding, etc, etc, etc." There are absolutely no side effects associated with Physical Therapy treatments. With many studies now showing that prescription opioids such as hydrocodone and oxycodone are largely ineffective for chronic pain, the choice is clear.
Physical Therapy Actually Works
It may sound very simple, but, in my opinion, one of the main reasons that Physical Therapy is proven to work is because of the fact that we actually are actively working to discharge patients from our case. Even if you take away the many studies that statistically prove the effectiveness of Physical Therapy, this fact still holds. A bottle of pills serves to only mask your chronic pain. There is no "cure". The point is to mask pain for a little while, and then it'll come back and you'll need more pills. With Physical Therapy, we're actively working to make sure that you don't need to come back and that you'll be able to follow a prescribed home program after discharge to keep you from coming back.
So this Physical Therapy Month, we urge everyone to take a long look in the mirror and make the RIGHT choice when dealing with your chronic pain symptoms. #ChoosePT