If you’re dealing with the misery of chronic pain, you may feel like taking opioid medication is the only way to feel like a functional person. But, there’s actually a better way: physical and occupational therapy can relieve your pain and help you recover without relying on opioid medications.
The Problems of Opioid Medications
To understand why physical and occupational therapy is a better choice for recovering from chronic pain, it’s important to first understand why opioids are a problem. Actually, there are several serious problems with opioid medications.
First, they’re only a short-term solution. Opioid medications last for only a matter of hours, and then they wear off so you’re left in a never-ending cycle of taking more. To make matters worse, the body also develops tolerance to opioid medications quite rapidly. While one pill might be enough to stop the pain in the beginning, soon it won’t work quite as well and thus your dosage tends to go up with time.
Opioid medications are also quite addictive, which is one of the main reasons that they’re so highly regulated today. Improper opioid use, including taking extra pills for pain, can cause serious whole-body health problems including overdose.
All of these reasons combine to tell you why opioid medications are the wrong choice for chronic pain. But, you have a better option in physical or occupational therapy.
Why Physical and Occupational Therapy is Best For Chronic Pain
Physical and occupational therapy is the best choice for chronic pain for a few reasons. The main reason is that it helps you recover and heal, rather than simply using a quick fix to feel better. Through physical and occupational therapy, you can rebuild strength and recover full function. You’ll do customized exercises that help you heal from within, so you might be worried about discomfort or pain from the exercise. But, that’s not a problem with physical and occupational therapy because your physical or occupational therapist has pain relief solutions, as well.
Your physical or occupational therapist can use a variety of advanced pain relieving modalities to speed along your recovery and enhance your comfort, including:
- Ultrasound to boost blood flow and heal your muscles, tendons, ligaments, and other tissues
- Ultrasound to deliver topical medication, which reduces inflammation
- Electrical stimulation to alleviate pain and improve your function
- Moist heat packs to reduce pain
- Cold packs to reduce pain and swelling
All of the pain relief modalities used in physical and occupational therapy are completely non-invasive, which means you’re not having to suffer to get the pain relief you need. It also allows you to get back to your life without taking opioid medication.
The CDC and the American College of Physicians both strongly recommend early non-drug treatments like physical and occupational therapy in lieu of opioid medication. By starting physical or occupational therapy early (preferably within 90 days of an injury) you may be able to avoid dealing with chronic pain for the rest of your life.
Your physical or occupational therapist is dedicated to helping you heal using all natural modalities so you don’t have to constantly worry about obtaining and taking pain pills forever.