How Physical Therapy Can Alleviate the Need for Painkillers

September 2, 2021 10:10 pm Published by Leave your thoughts

Chronic pain is a problem experienced by a significant number of American adults. While many people rely on aspirin or simply decide to grin and bear it, there are ways to get off painkillers and achieve long-term resolutions that don’t involve a dependency on medication.

Physical therapy is a safer and much more permanent solution to obtaining pain relief than the use of many painkillers, whether they’re over-the-counter or prescription.

Here’s an overview of what you should know.

Does physical therapy reduce the need for painkillers?

Over-the-counter medications do provide some relief from pain, and they can still be used as an effective treatment method when recovering from injury or surgery.

However, these solutions are only truly effective when paired with physical therapy. On their own, these basic painkillers only mask the pain—they don’t resolve it.

Physical therapy, however, attacks the condition directly. It helps to resolve a variety of conditions people might otherwise rely on medication to treat, including neck and back pain, knee pain, hip pain or headaches.

Instead of only treating the symptoms, you can work with a physical therapist to address the underlying causes of the aches and pains you’re experiencing. By taking this approach, you can help your body move better and reduce or even eliminate the pain entirely over time.

What to expect

During your first meeting with a physical therapist, you will receive an initial evaluation of your condition, and undergo some basic diagnostic testing. This will help the physical therapist determine the source of your pain and the best way physical therapy can be employed to address it.

Once they have a better understanding of your pain, the physical therapist can then recommend some specific types of therapies. These therapies could include heat treatment, massages, electrical stimulation and various exercises. Any technique they recommend will help you address your pain, increase your range of motion, strengthen areas of weakness in your body and improve overall function.

Ultimately, the goal of any physical therapy regimen is to give you back your full function of your body while getting rid of the pain you’re experiencing. While you might use some pain relievers during this process to make it easier to complete your physical therapy exercises and live your life without pain, the goal will be to allow you to get off painkillers. Instead, you’ll be able to live your life without a reliance on medication and potentially eliminate the use of that medication altogether for treating chronic pain.

Over-the-counter pain medications like Tylenol (acetaminophen) or non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) can be effective, but they can also be addictive. Excessive use of these medications can result in kidney or liver damage, as well as stomach ulcers and other problems. For these reasons, it’s in your best interest to do whatever you can to resolve your chronic pain without relying on these medications.

For more information about the best ways to get off painkillers with the help of a physical therapist, contact us at Focus Forward Wellness & Physical Therapy.

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