The following is part 2 of 3 in a series covering the issue of Chronic Pain. See the bottom of this article for links to the rest of the series.

Chronic Pain Is A Big Deal

There is an epidemic going on in the United States. Pain in this country is a problem, but how we are dealing with it is the real cause for alarm. We as a nation are becoming addicted to pain medications, specifically the opioid based medications Vicodin (hydrocodone) and Percocet (oxycodone). Consider this little bit of information from this LA Times article:

“Hydrocodone products are among the most commonly prescribed drugs in the U.S. Americans consume 99% of the hydrocodone produced worldwide, according to the International Narcotics Control Board.”

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The Statistics Are Frightening

More and more research is showing that these medications may actually be causing more harm than help for those dealing with chronic pain conditions. The statistics from the National Institute on Drug Abuse are alarming:

“In 2010, there were 13,652 unintentional deaths from opioid pain reliever (82.8 percent of the 16,490 unintentional deaths from all prescription drugs).”

If you’d like to take a look at more statistics, the American Society of Addiction Medicine has a PDF you can view here. The following are just a few selections from that article:

  • “In 2012, 259 million opioid pain medication prescriptions were written, enough for every adult in America to have a bottle of pills”
  • “Drug overdose was the leading cause of injury death in 2013, greater than car accidents and homicide.”
  • “In 2010, more than 6,600 women died from prescription painkiller overdoses (18 each day).”
  • “Every day, 2,500 American youth abuse a prescription pain reliever for the first time.”

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If Opioid Medications Aren’t The Answer, What Is?

What this country needs is a safe, affordable, and effective option for people suffering with chronic pain. This option should not only decrease our reliance on pain medications, but also improve the quality of life of those with chronic pain. We strongly believe (with plenty of research to back it up) that physical therapy can do just that.

Let’s illustrate that thought with a powerful section from this great article:

“I worked with one client who lived with chronic pain for more than 15 years. He was a pilot before his illness. When I met him, he was taking copious amounts of pain medications, but all were useless. The drugs simply made his pain worse while clouding both his mind and mood. 

He lived in his easy chair in front of the television. He watched the clock, praying for relief and waiting for his next dose. His three adult children never visited because they were tired of his constant irritability and complaining. When I asked about his goals, he said, “I want to mow my lawn again,” with tears in his eyes. After eight months of physical therapy, counseling and weaning off addictive medications, he was able to achieve this everyday task and much more.”

Physical therapy isn’t some magic cure, but there is a lot that a physical therapist can do to help you get back to the things you love. There’s hope, call a physical therapist today to get moving again.

Are you ready to learn how a physical therapist can help? Part 3 –  Chronic Pain: Physical Therapy Can Help! If you missed part 1 you can find it here – Chronic Pain: What Is It?

We will continuously update this post with links and resources as new research and data becomes available.
The Center of Disease Control strongly recommends finding ways to manage pain without opioid medications.
Here is a link to the CDC’s statement “Opioids Not Preferred Treatment For Chronic Pain
The American Academy of Neurologists has also taken a stance against the use of opioids for chronic pain.