Do you have pain? Consider choosing physical therapy as your first treatment approach! October is National Physical Therapy month and in honor of that the American Physical Therapy Association encourages you to learn about the many benefits of physical therapy. Physical therapy is used to promote the ability to move, reduce pain, restore function, and prevent disability. Physical therapists treat people of all ages and abilities and can identify, diagnose, and treat conditions that limit your ability to move or perform functional activities in your daily life.
Physical therapy is also a safe and effective alternative to opioids for the long-term treatment of chronic pain. In response to the growing opioid epidemic, the CDC recently released opioid prescription guidelines which recommend nonopioid approaches for pain management, including physical therapy, for certain conditions. Patients should consult with their doctor or physical therapist to consider choosing physical therapy over opioids when:
- The risks of opioid use outweigh the rewards
- Pain is related to low back pain, osteoarthritis, or fibromyalgia
- Pain lasts 90 days (chronic pain)
Physical therapy has also been found to be just as effective as surgery in treating certain orthopedic conditions. Studies suggest there is no significant difference in long term outcomes between operative treatment and physical therapy in patients with meniscus tears and osteoarthritis, rotator cuff tears, spinal stenosis, and degenerative disc disease.
Although some individuals may still require surgery, consider trying physical therapy first to potentially avoid invasive procedures.
To learn more about these studies see below: