Signs That You Must Have PT Instead of Opioids for Your Pain

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Opioids are pain-relieving drugs appropriate for certain medical cases like cancer treatment, palliative care, end-of-life care, and other acute care situations. However, it’s not always the best course of treatment for pain management. Sometimes, what you need is physical therapy rather than taking opioids for your pain. 

While your doctor will prescribe what kind of treatment you should have, here are some signs that you must know when you should have physical therapy instead of having opioids: 

1. When the Opioids Are Giving You More Risks Than Benefits

When you take opioids, you may experience side effects like depression, overdose, addiction, and withdrawal symptoms when you stop opioid use. For this reason, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has released a prescription guideline recommending non-opioid approaches for other pain management to prevent these risks. If you are experiencing these side effects, it’s time to stop taking opioids and go for physical therapy instead. 

2. If You Want to Improve Your Life Rather Than Masking the Pain

Having opioids will only reduce your pain. It will only interrupt the pain signals in your brain temporarily, and it will not make any improvements in your body. However, if you choose physical therapy, your pain will be managed while improving or maintaining your mobility and quality of life. 

3. If Your Pain Is Related to Function Problems

If your pain is low back pain, hip pain, knee pain, osteoarthritis, or fibromyalgia, affecting your ability to function properly, you should definitely consider physical therapy instead of taking opioids. Your physical therapist can help you improve your mobility by making you do exercises suitable for your condition. 

4. If Your Doctor Prescribes You Opioids for Pain 

In some cases, your doctor may still prescribe you opioids to manage your pain. However, following the CDC recommendation in combining opioids with physical therapy is not so bad. CDC recommends that patients should only receive the lowest effective dosage and combine it with physical therapy for more effective results. Even if you’re prescribed to take opioids, you can still take physical therapy treatment.

5. If Your Pain Lasts for 90 Days Already

If your pain is already at 90 days, be wary because it can already be considered “chronic.” Now, if you’re taking opioids for 90 days to manage your pain, your risks from the harmful side effects increase. As much as possible, avoid relying on opioids in managing your pain to prevent the side effects. Instead, go for non-opioid approaches like physical therapy. The CDC recommends this course of treatment as well. They said that non-opioid therapies are preferred for chronic pain and that clinicians should consider opioid therapy only if benefits for both pain and functions are expected. 


Remember, don’t rely on opioids when managing pain because it will only destroy your life, not improve it. You should consult with a physical therapist to discuss options for non-opioid treatment. If you’re encountering one of these signs, don’t hesitate to call a physical therapist so that they can help you improve your life and manage your pain. 

If you’re looking for a therapist in Denver, Gateway Home Hospice can provide you with one. We offer home care nursing services, providing the highest quality home-based patient care in an atmosphere of respect for human dignity. Our highly trained clinicians and therapists strive to exceed the expectations of our patients, families, caregivers, and physicians. Contact us today to know how we can help you!

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