Nov 24 , 2021
Physical Therapy Versus Opioid Use for Musculoskeletal Pain Management
Musculoskeletal pain is one of the leading causes of disability and loss of workplace productivity. The most prevalent treatment is the prescription of opioids, because of the quick relief and ease of access. However, there is a downside to opioid use: it is only advisable to use for a short period of time because of the increased chance of building tolerance/physiological and psychological dependence the longer it is used.
The addictive nature of this class of medications is why they should be used with great caution and only as a temporary relief to significant pain. They work by reducing inflammation and blocking the signals sent to the body’s pain receptors.
In essence, pharmaceutical means are essentially a tool to treat the symptoms and act as a Band-Aid rather treating the root cause of the pain, which physical therapy can help with.
The more sustainable treatment to musculoskeletal pain is physical therapy, because with the right types of corrective exercise, the root cause of the pain can be treated – the movement imbalances that lead to inflammation and muscular overcompensation.
Research has shown that having physical therapy as a primary first line of defense to muscular pain is just as effective, if not moreso, than opioid use.
And there is no risk of becoming addicted to physical therapy like with pharmacology. The reason why physical therapy isn’t as widely recommended is not because of the lack of efficacy, but more so, the varied availability of insurance coverage, the time commitment, and financial struggles.