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  • Back Pain Picture
    Aug. 21, 2018
    Physical Therapy May be More Effective in Treating Back Pain that Opioids

    By: Deanna Meehan, P.T., DPT, Kessler Rehabilitation Center

    Low back pain is a common ailment that affects many Americans throughout their lifetime. Initially, when seeking relief from acute symptoms, this pain is commonly treated with opioid analgesic pain medication. Unfortunately, such pain may become chronic and often long term opioid use continues to be a primary method to manage that pain. According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), although opioids continue to be prescribed to manage chronic pain, most patients have not reported a significant change in pain levels. In addition, studies have shown that long term use of opioids may be detrimental to one’s health with possible risks such as addiction, depression, and misuse or overdose.

    Because of such potential risks, the CDC recommends non-opioid treatment as a primary method to address chronic pain, including low back pain. Physical therapy is considered a safe alternative to manage chronic low back pain and may also aide in the prevention of re-injury. Physical therapists aim to reduce overall pain levels by using movement and exercise to improve quality of life.

    In physical therapy, comprehensive evaluations and a personalized treatment plan are developed to address the unique needs of each individual patient. Treatment rendered by a physical therapist may include manual therapy techniques which often help relieve the pain enough for the patient to embark on an exercise program. Specific targeted exercises address impairments in strength and flexibility, and training in proper body mechanics and appropriate postural positioning are important for safe lifting, carrying, bending and sitting. In addition, physical therapists can also educate patients on an individualized exercise program that they can continue after formal therapy treatment is over to help patients maintain the functional gains made during physical therapy.

    For more information on how physical therapy can help manage your chronic low back pain contact your physical therapist or give us a call to set up an appointment.