October’s designation as National Physical Therapy Month serves as the perfect time to raise awareness about using physical therapy in place of opioids as a method of treating chronic pain conditions.
The American Physical Therapy Association states that a physical therapist is a licensed health care professional who are able to assist patients with pain relief and improve mobility – often without surgery and without the need for long-term use of side effect-causing medications. Physical therapists work in a variety of settings, including hospitals, rehabilitation centers, outpatient offices, nursing homes, schools, and more.
Physical therapists can help treat patients with many injuries/conditions, including:
- Back pain, rotator cuff tears, knee injuries or surgeries
- Neurological conditions such as stroke, Parkinson’s disease, multiple sclerosis, spinal cord injuries
- Sports injuries such as concussion, sprained ankles and tennis elbow
- Cardiopulmonary conditions, including cystic fibrosis and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD)
- Hand therapy for carpal tunnel syndrome and trigger finger
What to Expect
Patients seeing a physical therapist can expect the following:
- Physical exam and evaluation: This process includes a health history and evaluations of flexibility, posture, and muscle/joint motion and performance.
- Get a diagnosis: Additionally, patient will get a prognosis, plan of care and a collection of goals for both the short term and long term.
- Treatment: Therapist will provide treatment and intervention according to their evaluation and diagnosis of the patient.
- Self-management recommendations: Therapists often provide ideas for exercises patients can do at home to help them function.
Physical therapists can help patients:
- Avoid surgery
- Reduce the need for opioids through pain management
- Prevent injuries in sports by analyzing biomechanics and ergonomics
- Improve their mobility and range of motion
- Recover from a trauma or injury
- Reduce risk of falls
Talk with your doctor about a referral to physical therapy or call southeastern Med Sports Med & Rehabilitation at 740.439.8997 for more information.