We all know the devastating effects of opioid addiction and, although for many people struggling with excruciating pain this might seem like the one and only alternative, the truth is that going down the path of opioid addiction to deal with pain is not the only way to overcome the pain. Physical therapy can not only save you from opioid addiction but also help you overcome the pain for good.
The moment you’re diagnosed with chronic pain or an injury, it’s the perfect moment to start physical therapy. It will help reduce both the amount and duration of time you’ll need to be on painkillers, and it will also help you overcome the pain and the injury.
A new analysis of nearly 90,000 private insurance claims, recently published on this month’s JAMA Network Open, says that starting physical therapy within three months of diagnosis, patients suffering from shoulder, neck, lower back or knee pain are 16% less likely to use opioids in subsequent months.
Assistant professor of anesthesiology, perioperative and pain medicine at Stanford and lead author of the study, Eric Sun, M.D., Ph.D. stated that although there are no magic ways to solve pain issues, the study suggests that physical therapy is a key component of pain management, and trying it at the earliest stages of diagnosis can be a path to recovery away from opioid addiction.
Participating in at least one physical therapy session within 90 days of a physician’s diagnosis has been associated with a 10% reduction in the amount of pain medication patients consumed. Researchers reached their conclusions by analyzing both insurance claims and prescription data from non-elderly patients who made outpatient and emergency room visits between 2007 and 2015.