Over 50 million Americans suffer from some form of chronic pain, making up 20% of the population. Furthermore, it is estimated that 10.7% of the US population takes prescription pain medications, and over 9.7 million people have reportedly misused their prescriptions.
Similarly, another problem is the opioid epidemic, with over 760,000 recorded deaths since 1999 due to an opioid overdose. According to a 2019 survey, around 10 million people in the US misused opioids.
CDC has recognized the increasing misuse of opioids in the US. As a result, CDC recommends prescription opioids for cases such as cancer treatment, palliative care, end-of-life care as well as in certain situations requiring acute care.
So, when it comes to dealing with chronic pain, should people go for physical therapy or opioids? Let’s compare the two options to help you decide which is a better solution for your chronic pain.
What Is Chronic Pain?
Chronic pain is described as pain that lasts longer than 12 weeks, even after treatment, medication, or physical therapy. Pain is an expected symptom after an injury or surgery. However, people often report that pain persists for long periods.
Moreover, chronic pain can start even without any history of injury or surgery. Chronic pain can also be a common issue for people suffering from diabetes, fibromyalgia, arthritis, back pain, or irritable bowel. Chronic pain can also be developed due to stress or unhappiness.
Sometimes, people can experience chronic pain even after medical tests don’t point to any conclusive reason or underlying cause.
Why Physical Therapy Is Better Than Opioids for Chronic Pain
The reality is that while opioids can be useful in certain situations, chronic pain is not one of these situations. CDC recommends against using opioids as first-line or routine therapy for chronic pain. This recommendation is mainly due to the risks associated with opioid use.
Side effects of opioids include depression, overdose, and addiction. Moreover, patients can also suffer from withdrawal symptoms when they stop using opioids for chronic pain. Non-opioid treatment such as physical therapy is recommended because of the much lower risks.
Not only is physical therapy much safer, but it also differs from opioid treatment in a major way. Opioids don’t really address the issue but rather mask the pain by interfering with the pain signals to the brain.
On the other hand, physical therapy addresses pain through movement to improve your mobility and quality of life. In conclusion, physical therapy is a much better option when it comes to dealing with chronic pain, offering both short-term and long-term advantages.
Healing Hands Physical Therapy Helps with Chronic Pain
If you’re looking for physical therapy treatments in Augusta, GA, we can help. At Helping Hands, we have expert physical therapists in Augusta and Thomson, GA, who are specialized in helping you deal with your chronic pain. Contact now to learn more about how we can help you.