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3 Reasons To Choose PT Over Opioids

3 Reasons To Choose PT Over Opioids

Are you currently relying on prescription medications for pain relief? Does the prospect of taking painkilling drugs for the rest of your life fill you with concern? If it doesn’t, then it should — especially if the drugs in question are opioids.

Many sufferers of chronic pain who can’t get the relief they need from NSAIDs or steroids feel that they have no choice but to turn to opioid drugs that are more powerful. Unfortunately, opioids can cause some serious life-threatening issues, such as intoxication, addiction, or even a fatal overdose.

These threats are exactly why you should consider the natural pain-relieving power of physical therapy as a safer, more beneficial alternative. The Center for Disease Control and Prevention has even issued guidelines about this and urged people to choose physical therapy as a safe drug-alternative.

To learn more about the benefits of physical therapy, call our office today and schedule a consultation.

What are opioids, and why are they dangerous?

Opioids are strong painkilling drugs that are often prescribed to combat severe chronic pain. They are traditionally derived from substances in the poppy plant.

Opioids work by binding to opioid receptors in the brain and other structures of the body. As the opioids occupy these receptors, they prevent the receptors from receiving pain signals. At the same time, the opioids trigger the release of large amounts of dopamine, a substance that evokes feelings of pleasure.

Regular usage can increase your dependence and make you need higher and more frequent doses. Opioids can restrict your ability to breathe and can lead to a fatal overdose.

Opioids such as morphine, codeine, hydrocodone, and oxycodone can often deaden pain when milder drugs cannot, making them a common prescription for cancer pain, acute injuries, and severe neurological or musculoskeletal pain. They can also produce euphoria or unconsciousness, making them a highly-abused substance in both legal and illegal forms (such as heroin).

The sad truth is that many people believe their only form of pain relief comes in a pill. Here are three ways that our physical therapists can their skills and techniques to manage (and even eliminate) your pain symptoms — without the use of medication!

1. Physical therapy decreases stress on your nerves and muscles.

If your body is unable to maintain its natural balance, support, and symmetry, it is sure that chronic pain conditions will follow. That’s because to preserve healthy posture and musculoskeletal alignment, your spinal column needs adequate support from major muscle groups.

Muscles that are weakened, tight, or damaged are sufficient enough, so they tire easily and create chronic strain. From herniated discs to pinched nerves, the resulting postural imbalances can then lead to other painful problems.

Physical therapy can correct these issues and get you back to feeling your best. A physical therapist may prescribe exercises to strengthen the muscles of your back and neck, give much-needed support to your spine, and ease the strain on those tissues. Improvements in your posture can help relieve neurological pain by removing pressure from the nerves. To correct spinal imbalances, they may even recommend treatments such as chiropractic adjustment to reduce painful stress on your body.

2. Physical therapy improves joint mobility.

You may be surprised to hear a physical therapist suggest walking as a way to get pain relief, especially if you experience paralysis of the osteoarthritis of your knees or hips. But walking will also help alleviate chronic articular pain and help arthritis move more freely!

If you aren’t ready for walking, then you may also benefit from aquatic therapy and the healing properties of water. There are also many other treatment modalities as well. Heat therapy, laser therapy, and massage are all considered to lead to a better feeling and movement of inflamed joints. Strengthening exercises can help take the burden off of your joint’s bones and cartilage by allowing the surrounding muscles and connective tissues to do more of the work.

3. Physical therapy can help improve chronic inflammation.

Inflammation occurs as part of your immune system’s natural response to disease or injury. Many kinds of chronic pain are inflammatory in nature or origin. Certain white blood cells and proteins trigger inflammatory processes even as they’re fighting to help protect tissues. But your body also has a process for suppressing the production of these substances, called “sympatho adrenergic activation. Physical therapy exercises can trigger the release of this substance. Research shows that a moderate exercise routine can prompt the sympathetic nervous system to reign in those inflammatory processes that cause pain and swelling.

Physical therapy can also help your body get rid of accumulated inflammatory substances by boosting your circulation. Massage, heat, cold, and laser therapy all increase blood flow to inflamed tissues. This allows the tissues to expel toxins that cause or worsen your inflammation.

Could physical therapy be right for you?

Opioids and other painkilling drugs have their place in medicine, but you don’t have to rely on them as your only weapons against chronic pain. You should know that you’re not alone in your search for true pain relief. Ask our physical therapist about how a physical therapy program could hold the natural solutions you need, and get back to leading a normal, healthy life. Contact North Park Medical today!

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