Friday, July 15, 2016

Pain Management: The PT Alternative to Opioid Use

by Stephanie Korso, PT
Pain can make us feel uncomfortable, frustrated, and just plain miserable. It can interfere with our ability to perform everyday activities, like getting dressed and doing household chores. It can stop us from going to work or even fun social events. Who wants to live like that?

With our busy lives and hectic schedules, we tend to look for the easiest and most convenient fix. Often times, prescription pain medications (opioids) seem like the answer. Opioids can be helpful for short periods of time, but our bodies naturally adapt to these drugs with prolonged exposure. To continue feeling the positive pain-relieving effects of these drugs, our bodies require higher doses, which can lead to dependence, abuse, and addiction. Unfortunately, there has been a recent rise in abuse of both prescription and illegal drugs, and prescription pain medications seem to be a gateway to illegal drug abuse.
That's why the White House has an initiative to combat prescription and illegal drug abuse, and the American Physical Therapy Association (APTA) has joined this initiative. Research shows that pain can be effectively managed by conservative, non-drug approaches such as physical therapy. Physical therapists are trained in hands-on therapy (manual therapy), exercises (to improve mobility and strength), and modalities (ice, heat, electrical stimulation and ultrasound), all of which can have pain-relieving effects. If pain is interfering with your everyday activities or ability to participate in fun summer events, you may benefit from physical therapy.

Stephanie can be reached at