Published on October 14, 2016

Physical therapy

Physical therapy or pain meds? You decide

Here are 4 reasons to consider physical therapy for pain, injury or mobility issues.

Physical therapy is often prescribed to patients following surgery to regain strength and flexibility. It can also be used as a way to treat medical conditions, injuries or illnesses that result in pain or limit function or mobility, without the need for medication or more invasive treatments.

Here are some reasons you may want to visit a physical therapist:

  1. Physical therapy is a safer way to manage pain. Many doctors today prescribe opioid drugs (painkillers) to manage pain. In fact, the number of opioid prescriptions has quadrupled since 1999, resulting in a national health crisis. The CDC is now urging physicians to reduce the use of opioids for chronic pain and to recommend safer alternatives. Physical therapy treats pain through movement by helping patients improve strength, flexibility and range of motion. It can be an effective and safer alternative to pain medication.
  2. Physical therapy can help improve mobility. No matter what your age, physical therapy can help restore your ability to move better. Whether your limited mobility is due to an acute injury, a stroke or the natural aging process, a customized treatment plan can target areas of weakness with strengthening and stretching exercises.
  3. Physical therapy can address balance issues. A lack of balance puts you at an increased risk of falling, which can lead to serious injury. Physical therapists can help you improve your balance and coordination so you’ll be less likely to fall.
  4. Physical therapy can help you avoid surgery. While a physical therapy program may not be able to prevent every type of surgery, it may a good alternative to surgery for conditions such as knee osteoarthritis, meniscal tears and rotator cuff injuries. Research also shows that treating back pain with physical therapy instead of surgery results in more favorable overall outcomes over the long term. Even if you do need surgery, physical therapy before and after surgery can help improve recovery outcomes.

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