Information for this article was taken from the American Physical Therapy Association (APTA) website.
Part of being a physical therapist is helping to increase overall wellness in our community. October is National Physical Therapy month, which brings awareness to the benefits of physical therapy. Here are some of the goals the American Physical Therapy Association (APTA) would like to accomplish during this month.
One goal of the APTA is to raise awareness to the opioid epidemic. Americans continue to be prescribed and to abuse opioids at alarming rates. This October, the APTA will carry on raising awareness of physical therapy as a safe and effective alternative to opioids for the long-term treatment of chronic pain via the #ChoosePT campaign. There is a plethora of information on this webpage to help Americans deal with chronic pain outside of taking medications. One of the quotes includes “don't just mask the pain, treat it.”
•The increase in prescription opioid use is unmistakable.
According to the CDC, in 2012 health care providers wrote 259 million prescriptions for opioid pain medication, enough for every American adult to have their own bottle of pills.
•The risk for misusing prescription opioids is real.
According to the CDC, every day, over 1,000 people are treated in emergency departments for misusing prescription opioids.
•The risk for addiction is real.
According to the CDC, as many as 1 in 4 people who receive prescription opioids long-term for non-cancer pain in primary care settings struggles with addiction.
•The risk for heroin use is real.
According to the CDC, among new heroin users, about 3 out of 4 report abusing prescription opioids before using heroin.
•Physical therapy is a safe and effective alternative to opioids for long-term pain management.
In March 2016, the CDC released guidelines urging non-opioid approaches for the management of chronic pain.
•There are some situations in which opioid therapy is appropriate.
The CDC guidelines indicate that opioids may be appropriate for situations including cancer treatment, palliative care, end-of-life care, and certain acute care situations. Still, the CDC guidelines also suggest pairing opioid therapy with non-opioid therapy, and their prescriber checklist recommends trying non-opioid therapy first.
•Patients have a choice about the kind of treatment they receive.
Before accepting a prescription for opioids, patients should talk to their health care providers about related risks and safer alternatives.
The second goal is to participate in a service project in the area. Our clinic provided the opportunity to participate in a 1 mile or 5K run/walk in August in order to increase overall fitness for the community of Tecumseh. We will continue to participate in community projects as the opportunity arises.
In summary, physical therapy has been proven to a safe alternative to opioids in certain situations. Contact your local physician to discuss your options.