Physical Therapy Month Ideas: The Alternative


This year, the American Physcial Therapy Association, APTA will honor Physical Therapists with a national campaign called #ChoosePT.
By providing a variety of physical therapy month activities, APTA and those who participate will focus their energy on educating the public about alternatives to opioid use.
Specifically, this theme intends to inform the general public about the dangers of opioid use and how physical therapy offers a natural, safe, and effective alternative for pain management.

This choice couldn't come at a more appropriate time. The opioid epidemic in our country is reaching devastating proportions.
According to the American Society of Addiction Medicine (ASAM), drug overdose is the primary cause of accidental death in our country. Take a look at these shocking statistics from 2014:

  • 1.9 million Americans had a substance abuse disorder that involved prescription pain medication.
  • 586,000 had a substance abuse disorder that involved heroin.
  • 80 percent of new heroin users become addicted after misusing prescription painkillers.
  • 47,055 people died as a result of a drug overdose.
  • 18,893 of these deaths were caused by prescription pain relievers.
  • 10,574 were caused by heroin.

This makes opioids the main driver of overdose deaths in our country.
In 2012, doctors wrote 259 million prescriptions for opioid painkillers. That's enough to give every U.S. adult more than an entire bottle of pills which could easily lead to an addition.

The activities that take place during Physical Therapy Awareness Month focus provide an extensive effort to raise awareness of and address the human toll of the opioid epidemic.
Let's consider the main two problems with opioid-based pain relievers:
  1. They do not heal whatsoever.
  2. They are highly addicting.

Unlike antibiotics and other healing-based medication, opioids provide no medical benefit aside from pain relief. They interact with the user's nervous system and nerve receptors. Pain relief is enormously necessary but must be monitored by professionals due to the side effects.

Dulling the nerve receptions results in relief from pain, and oftentimes the production of pleasurable feelings.
This brings us to our second point.
The issue is that this can-and often does-result in addiction. Addiction is a brain disease that results in the pathological pursuit of pain relief or pleasure at the expense of someone's mental, emotional, and physical health.

It's clear that providing a safe, non-addictive, alternative for pain relief is crucial. Physical Therapy can do this, and raising awareness will:
  • keep people healthy
  • saving lives by reducing opioid use
  • combat the socially devastating impact of the opioid epidemic

Let's further explore Physical Therapy as an alternative to opioid use.

Physical Therapy Month Ideas: The Alternative

There are a variety of illnesses that rely on opioids, such as patients receiving cancer treatment, palliative care, or end-of-life care. For most patients who do not fall into those categories, physical therapy is the right alternative.
There are many physical therapy month ideas to consider when the goal is overcoming opioid reliance.

Oftentimes injury to the musculoskeletal system is the driver behind a prescription to opioids, as well as a referral to your trusted Physical Therapist.
Musculoskeletal problems range from arthritis and sprained joints to broken bones and congenital disorders.

Physical Therapists use a variety of medical techniques to heal the body, thereby overcoming pain associated with a former injury.
They do this by:

  • Designing and helping patients perform exercise programs to correct posture, strengthen muscles, and improve range of motion
  • Teaching patients how to avoid overexerting themselves and damaging their bodies
  • Performing various forms of massage therapy including deep tissue massage, trigger point massage, and myofascial relief therapy to improve circulation, promote healing, and reduce pain
  • Applying various treatments such as hydrotherapy, ultrasound therapy, laser therapy, electrotherapy, and various hot and cold wraps to promote healing and reduce pain

SEE ALSO: Future of Physical Therapy Profession: 6 Exciting Career Insights
Perhaps one of the most important aspects of using physical therapy is the element of control it provides the patient.

Opioid use, the reliance on pain medication, can make many patients feel that they are not in control of their recovery.
Physical Therapy as a method of pain relief allows patients to actively participate in their treatment. This provides them with "a say" in their recovery process.

Most importantly, Physical Therapy aims to heal patients of their painful ailments.
Because physical therapy is a constructive treatment, a successful outcome reduces or eliminates the need for pharmaceutical painkillers.

As a result, Physical Therapy is prover to lower the number of people at risk of developing an opioid addiction. Now that's something to celebrate!

SPOT Rehabilitation & Home Health Care in St. Cloud, MN, offers certified care and support for rehabilitation clients of all ages. SPOT has been in business since 1989. Our mission has always been community and home-based dynamic rehabilitation for our clients.

Our Home Health Care services include Speech, Physical, Occupation Therapy, Nursing, Social Work, and Home Health Aide management. SPOT Rehabilitation & Home Health Care is Medicare certified and a Minnesota Licensed Class A Home Care Provider so you can rest assured that your loved ones will be taken care of with nothing but the best therapy and nursing services.

SPOT Rehabilitation & Home Health Care also offers Outpatient Adult and Pediatric Rehabilitation in addition to other services listed on this website. If you are in the Central MN area and need home health care or rehabilitation support, please give us a call today!


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