The Dangers Of Opioids For Pain Relief
It is national Physical Therapy Month! This month the APTA (American Physical Therapy Association) wants to alert the population about the dangers of opioids for pain relief.
We all know that most medications come with certain less desirable side effects, even though they are a powerful way to reduce symptoms. Why would you want to gamble with side effects when there is an alternative route to the same relief that can be more prolonged, as well as, healthier for your whole body?
That is where Physical Therapy, more specifically, an active lifestyle with routine stretches and exercises, will help improve the bodies ability to tolerate everyday stresses and recuperate from illness and injury. I don't know how many times I have had a patient tell me that they didn't think that physical therapy would help them, but by the time we were finished they were overjoyed for not only the reduced pain, but the improved function they gained!!
There are many evidence based studies that show the effectiveness of therapy to help reduce chronic pain. Even the CDC has reported physical therapy as an alternative to opioid use for patients with chronic pain symptoms based on these studies. for an example, I often see patients diagnosed with knee osteoarthritis. And with a simple 10 minute warm up on a recumbent bike, they would go from having a slow stiff knee with increased pain and grinding, to being able to wind that bike up to a good cadence with minimal discomfort if any! Literally 10 minutes to a more functional knee that felt better to walk and go up and down stairs on.
I fully believe in the power of dedicated movement and exercises to help maintain one's body, mind, and soul. Our bodies have built in "medicines" that can be unlocked when the appropriate amount of exercise is performed and is much healthier than the alternative. I think it makes sense to take on the mindset that we can make ourselves better, and once we believe in that, then we can depend less on expensive and some times dangerous medications.
Keep active, Breath, Eat Healthy, and Enjoy Life!
Gordon Moreland PT, DPT, CMTPT
Columbia Branch Manager, CAO PVOA