If you’ve been struggling with serious pain problems for a while, and you’ve gotten little to no relief from over-the-counter painkillers, your doctor may want to prescribe opioids to control that pain. But as tempting as it might be to numb yourself with these powerful drugs, you’re better off saying no to the offer. Opioid medications can create some major problems in your life, without actually addressing your pain at its source. That’s why the CDC recommends that patients find ways to relieve their pain through physical therapy instead. Our skilled physical therapist can help you achieve this goal — so contact our office today!
Why Do People Use Opioids?
People use opioid medications as a kind of “nuclear option” for eliminating pain that less severe methods can’t control, often as the last stop before major surgery. Opioids such as morphine are used in combat situations or hospitals to ease the pain of traumatic injuries, terminal cancer, and surgical procedures. Opioids such as oxycodone and hydrocodone are also prescribed for managing severe pain at home. Opioids are so powerful because they have a direct effect on opioid receptors — the parts of the brain that process feelings of pain and pleasure. When an opioid fills these receptors, it blocks pain sensations while flooding the body with feelings of euphoria and well-being.
Why You Need a Better Pain Management Solution
In some ways, opioids represent too much of a good thing; in other respects, they’re sadly inadequate for coping with long-term pain issues. Over time, these drugs can take the place of the body’s own pleasure-generating chemicals, meaning that their absence causes severe withdrawal. This combination of positive and negative reinforcement results in dangerous degrees of addiction. Millions of people in the U.S. alone abuse opioids and many of those individuals die of opioid-related overdoses.
The other shortcoming of opioids is the fact that they don’t actually help to heal anything. Even the strongest painkilling drug can do nothing more than kill pain, and that only temporarily. The underlying injury or ailments that generates the pain signals is still there, possibly getting worse from day to day, affecting your functionality and health as well as your comfort.
How Physical Therapy Eases Pain
Physical therapy not only helps to ease your pain safely and naturally; it also gives your body what it needs to control or recover from its underlying health problems. Here are just three of the ways our physical therapist can use these techniques to get you feeling better:
- Flexibility exercises increase your range of motion. Both passive and active exercises can flex arthritic joints or tight tissues. Over time, these exercises can loosen your muscles, promote joint lubrication, and reduce the inflammation that contributes to many pain syndromes.
- Strength training improves posture, balance and support. Many painful problems are caused or worsened by improper posture, musculoskeletal imbalances, and structural weaknesses that place too much stress on muscles and joints. Our physical therapist can prescribe strength training to help your body stabilize itself and support its weight more comfortably.
- Aerobic exercises can help you control inflammation. A physical therapy program that includes walking, cycling, swimming, or other aerobic exercises can help you control inflammation by boosting circulation and altering hormone levels. It can also improve your blood pressure and sense of well-being while helping you lose excess weight.
These natural pain-relieving methods are just a few of the physical therapy techniques we can employ. So skip the opioids and call our physical therapist today!