To start this blog, we want to point to two salient statistics — one in five people in the United States lives with chronic pain and nearly 10 million people misused prescription painkillers in 2019 alone.
The use of painkillers to relieve both acute and chronic pain can play a role, but the risk of addiction is great, which makes finding alternative solutions for pain management a very good idea.
At Tres Vistas Recovery, Dr. Daniel Headrick and our team of addiction specialists have seen far too many people come through our doors with an opioid use disorder that began with painkillers. As a result, we’ve studied the different ways in which people can manage their pain, without resorting to opioid-based painkillers, and physical therapy (PT) is at, or near, the top of our list.
Here’s a look at the powerful role that physical therapy can play in helping you to regain pain-free living.
Immediate benefits of physical therapy
One of the biggest benefits of physical therapy is that it provides both short- and long-term benefits. When it comes to immediate benefits, physical therapy can accomplish several objectives.
First, PT helps to strengthen your damaged tissues through targeted exercises.This work not only helps you to regain mobility and movement more quickly, it also helps speed the healing process. In moving and stretching your tissues through PT, you’re encouraging healing resources to flow more freely and you’re able to reduce inflammation at the same time, which is an important point. Inflammation in your body is often the underlying cause of your pain.
To give you an idea about how effective PT can be, one study found that, “Patients who underwent physical therapy soon after being diagnosed with pain in the shoulder, neck, low back or knee were approximately 7 to 16 percent less likely to use opioids in the subsequent months.”
Long-term benefits of PT
While PT can help you minimize the amount of medications you need and greatly shorten the duration during which you might need medications, it also sets you up for better health moving forward.
When you take painkillers, these medications don’t deliver any long-term benefits or address the underlying cause of your pain — they simply treat the symptom. PT treats the root cause of your pain so that you can find long-lasting and meaningful relief from your pain.
This is especially important if you’re dealing with a chronic condition that’s causing you pain, such as arthritis or low back pain. While there may be no cure for your condition, PT can help you work around the problem and improve your quality of life. For example, your physical therapist can show you how to strengthen certain areas of your body to take the pressure off of the damaged tissues.
Through PT, you learn how to live, rather than succumbing to the condition and using medications to mask the pain.
If you’d like to learn more about how PT can help you to find pain relief without medications, contact our office in San Juan Capistrano, California, to set up a consultation.