After reviewing insurance claims from over 88,000 patients who were not taking opioids prior to an episode of neck, shoulder, low back, or knee pain, the results of the study suggests that early physical therapy (within 30 days) was associated with an approximate 10% reduction in the probability of any opioid use long term. In addition, if the patients did use opioids, seeing a physical therapist early was associated a 5-10% reduction in the the total amount used. Drilling down further, the researchers found that patients with two of the conditions who underwent early physical therapy were less likely to chronically use opioids in the long term — 66 percent less likely for patients with knee pain and 34 percent less likely for patients with low back pain.
Given what we are finding out about the dangers of addiction and long-term consequences of prolonged opioid use, these findings are important. In many cases in the U.S., opioids are prescribed first when a person contacts their health care provider for complaints of pain in the knee, shoulder, back, or neck. Physical therapy is often withheld until later, when the person is not getting better with the pills. This is really the opposite of what should be happening and if you are offered pain meds first, you should request to be seen by a quality physical therapist first.
At ProMotion, you do not need a referral from a physician to be seen and helped and many times, the earlier you can get treated, the faster you can get back to health and as this study shows, the less likely it is that you will need to take strong pain killers.
Feel free to reach out if you need help.
Thanks fo reading,