Physical Therapy vs Pain Medication & Opioids
When considering physical therapy vs pain medication, it requires an in-depth look at the experiences of both options. Often, people seek medication for pain relief. However, results show the benefits are temporary and potentially harmful. Pain medication is a big business in the United States. More than 40 million people suffer from chronic pain from any number of ailments. This results in thousands of lost workdays and a staggering 300 billion dollars annually.
As our population ages, we can expect to see that number grow. It’s difficult to quantify from one person to another, which makes understanding pain a complicated process. If you are considering medication for your pain, it’s important to weigh the pros and the cons.
Long Term Opioids and Pain Meds Usage…Not a free lunch
The traditional treatments for chronic pain have been over-the-counter analgesics like ibuprofen. They also include opioid pain medications such as hydrocodone and oxycodone. While these are fairly effective in the short-term after surgery, they are far from safe. Long-term Tylenol and ibuprofen use can lead to liver, kidney, and gastrointestinal damage.
Narcotic pain medicine is very sedating and can put people at risk for accidents while working or driving. What’s more, the mechanism of action with opioids makes dosing a major issue. It is easy to take too much, especially since they tend to become less effective with time. Overdosing, even by a little bit, can lead to a dangerous decrease in oxygen. Opioids also inhibit gut motility, making constipation a miserable side effect at best or an emergency room visit at worst.
The Harmful Side Effects of Opioids Include Addiction
The media has coined the term “opioid crisis” recently for good reason. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the biggest threat associated with the opioid epidemic is the risk of addiction and lethal overdose for many people. These painkillers operate by binding with a particular ‘pleasure’ receptor in the brain. This causes “happy” feelings by flooding the brain with dopamine. This false euphoria is what leads patients down the road to addiction. If you are pondering the benefits between physical therapy and opioids, consider this statement. Pain medications are not the answer to chronic pain.
Physical Therapy, An Effective Solution
Unlike physical therapy, pain medication does not treat the cause or do anything to heal the underlying injury. Physical therapy focuses on addressing the root cause of physical pain. This is done various exercises including stretching and strengthening of core muscular systems. Physical therapists (PTs) are highly trained experts on the musculoskeletal system. PTs create personalized treatment plans to handle a specific issue you may have. Such plans are tailored to your particular injury to help provide ultimate and long term pain relief. They’ll also help prevent these issues from happening in the future. The central dogma of PT is that exercise is the best medicine.
Physical therapy offers treatment that conveys minimal risk, unlike opioid pain medications. This type of treatment for pain management is an effective alternative to reduce opioid usage or need for surgery.
We Understand Your Pain
Our physical therapists at Biomotion understand the impact that pain can have on your life. That’s why we’re only interested in creating solutions. If you’re suffering from intense shoulder or neck pain or elsewhere, contact us today. We’ll get you started with a free screening where our primary care or goal is to find the treatment you need. Our clinic provides physical therapy treatment in a supportive environment to help get your life back on track. Call us at 210-659-4333 or contact us online today!