Coronavirus COVID-19 Information
- Information for patients who have a scheduled test, appointment or telehealth visit
- Information for hospital visitors
- Donations: How you can help
Did you know that from 2014 to 2015 Rhode Island was one of five states with the highest rates of opioid-related overdose deaths? And in 2018 alone, 314 people in Rhode Island and over 1,900 people in Massachusetts died from opioid-related overdose. More than half of those overdoses are linked to chronic pain syndromes, according to a study published in the American Journal of Psychiatry. In March 2016, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) released opioid prescribing guidelines, recommending that prescribers reduce the use of opioids in favor of safer alternatives.
While there is no magic cure for pain, there are safer and effective alternatives to opioids. Physical therapy is one that the CDC recommends.
One study concluded that when physical therapy was used within three months of a musculoskeletal pain diagnosis, such as lower back, shoulder or knee pain, patients were less likely to use opioids in the months following the injury. In patients who did use opioids and had early physical therapy, there was a 10 percent reduction in the risk of long-term opioid use.
Physical therapy not only reduces the likelihood of an opioid prescription, it also reduces health care costs. In a study that compared patients with low back pain who saw a physical therapist (PT) as the first point of care, they were 89 percent less likely to get an opioid prescription. In addition, the researchers found a nearly 30 percent decrease in the use of advanced diagnostic imaging studies, and a nearly 15 percent decrease in emergency department visits. All of these factors lead to lower costs.
To help you manage your pain a PT uses a variety of treatment techniques, including hands on treatment, movement and education.
There’s a grassroots movement to increase awareness of the benefits of physical therapy called GetPT1st. One of their slogans sums it up well: “Movement can replace many drugs, but no drug can replace movement.”
Learn more about how physical therapy and Lifespan Rehabilitation Services can help you.