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Physical Therapy: A Solution to the Rise of Opioid Addiction

It’s no question that opioid addiction is on the rise in the United States. Both major and local news sources have been reporting on the effects of opioid addiction.

Opioids are drugs like oxycodone, hydrocodone, codeine and the illegal opioid, heroin. These drugs interact with receptors on nerve cells in the body and brain. Painkillers become extremely addictive due to the sensation of euphoria they give the user.

All of these drugs are intended to relieve pain, but are commonly abused. Both prescription and illegal drug abuse have increased over 400 percent in the last six years!

Pain relievers have increasingly caused more harm than good. Opioid risks include depression, overdose, and addiction, plus withdrawal symptoms when stopping use.

According to Move Forward PT, those addicted to painkillers are also 40 times more likely to become addicted to heroin.

Young people have been greatly affected by opioids, especially athletes. Young athletes often have injuries in which they are prescribed painkillers, or they get the drugs from their peers to “get high.”

In fact, adolescent athletes are 50 percent more likely to abuse painkillers (CBS).

The use of these drugs can be beneficial for chronic pain, however, it is not necessary for acute pain. Often, many doctors are over prescribing medications to patients.

The growing number of people experiencing chronic pain has resulted in a spike in prescribed opioids and anti-anxiety medications. Death from the abuse of these medications is at an all-time high (Clinicient).

Limitations on prescriptions of opioids could be a factor in decreasing the amount of overdoses and death. However, chronic pain will still be an issue for most patients. Painkillers mask the pain, rather than doing anything to treat or cure the injury.

Physical therapy in Elpaso has proven to decrease acute and chronic pain. Relieving the disabling effects of an injury and helping patients regain confidence.

The American Physical Therapy Association launched a national campaign to raise awareness about the risks of opioid use and to promote physical therapy as a safe, long-term solution for pain management.

The hashtag, #ChoosePT, serves to encourage folks to choose physical therapy over opioids. The #ChoosePT campaign website includes facts and tips for avoiding chronic pain and information on the opioid epidemic.

If physical therapists, and others, all over the nation join this movement and promote PT over opioids and healthy pain treatment, it could result in a huge decrease in prescription drug abuse. Ultimately, fatalities from opioids will decrease dramatically as well. This could help you or a loved one today, or into the future.

What to do next

Contact us at Southwest Sport & Spine and join us to promote PT as the safer pain management option. Spread the word! 575-521-4188.