National Physical Therapy Month (Source APTA)
Here are some key facts about the choice between PT and Opiods:
- The increase in prescription opioid use is unmistakable.
According to the CDC, in 2012 health care providers wrote 259 million prescriptions for opioid pain medication, enough for every American adult to have their own bottle of pills
- The risk for misusing prescription opioids is real.
According to the CDC, every day, over 1,000 people are treated in emergency departments for misusing prescription opioids.
- The risk for addiction is real.
According to the CDC, as many as 1 in 4 people who receive prescription opioids long-term for noncancer pain in primary care settings struggles with addiction.
- The risk for heroin use is real.
According to the CDC, among new heroin users, about 3 out of 4 report abusing prescription opioids before using heroin.
- Physical therapy is a safe and effective alternative to opioids for long-term pain management.
In March 2016, the CDC released guidelines urging nonopioid approaches for the management of chronic pain.
- There are some situations in which opioid therapy is appropriate.
The CDC guidelines indicate that opioids may be appropriates for situations including cancer treatment, palliative care, end-of-life care, and certain acute care situations. Still, the CDC guidelines also suggest pairing opioid therapy with nonopioid therapy, and their prescriber checklist recommends trying nonopioid therapy first.
- Patients have a choice about the kind of treatment they receive.
Before accepting a prescription for opioids, patients should talk to their health care providers about related risks and safer alternatives.