Opioids Aren’t The Only Option For Pain.

By: Dr. Christine Stathes, PT, DPT, OCS

We live in a society that puts a premium on quick fix solutions to complex problems, for instance pain.  Pain is one of the many reasons to seek advice from a healthcare professional.  Pain is highly individualized and one of the most controversial and complex medical conditions to treat.

Since the mid 1900s, the health care system’s approach to pain management has been the pharmacological masking of pain.  This has resulted in a dramatic increase in opioid prescriptions, leading to misuse and addiction.  

In 2014, more than 750,000 people in the US were receiving substance abuse treatment for prescription opioids, and the number of those getting treatment for heroin was twice what it had been in 2002.  As of the latest statistics from 2016, more than 42,000 people in the US have died from an opioid overdose, with a growing percentage > 4 % of people addicted to prescription opioids transitioning to heroin.  

No one wants to live in pain and no one should put their health at risk, in an effort to be pain free.  Moving forward, the health care system needs to re-examine interventions for pain. In recent years, more and more evidence has shown that physical therapists may be the answer when it comes to managing pain. Physical Therapy is a dynamic profession that has been shown to be effective in managing pain and improving function.   For instance, a growing body of evidence has determined, physical therapists as a first line approach to those suffering from low back pain. Additional high quality evidence supports the effectiveness and efficacy of physical therapy interventions in preventing and minimizing pain for fibromyalgia, hip and knee osteoarthritis.  Using physical therapists as the first line approach has been proven to lower both healthcare related costs and the use of opioid medications ( 2015 BMC).

Physical therapists engage in a comprehensive examination and evaluation process that focuses not only pain but also the movement patterns and imbalances that contribute to painful conditions.  

Physical therapists play a valuable role in the patient education process helping you understand the mechanisms of and contributors to your pain.  Physical therapists can provide you with realistic expectations for recovery, with or without opioids.   With advanced understanding of how the body moves, and through targeted and patient specific individualized treatment plans, physical therapists can correct the causative factors contributing to your pain and abnormal movement patterns.

If you or someone you know is in pain, do not wait any longer.  Under NYS law Direct Access allows you to see a physical therapist for an evaluation and treatment without a physician’s referral.  In New York, a wide variety of insurances, allow treatment to be rendered up to 10 visits or 30 days, whichever comes first.  Please feel free to contact us, and our staff will be more than happy to verify your insurance plan is a participating provider with Direct Access. In addition to Physical Therapy, patients can get pain relief from other conservative healthcare services such as Chiropractic Care, Acupuncture, Massage Therapy, Active Release Techniques, and Graston Techniques. At ProClinix, we are able to provide these services and modalities to our patients as an integrative approach to care to eliminate pain as quickly and efficiently as possible.

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