RI Physical Therapist Discusses Alternatives to Rising Opioid Use

Feb 23, 2016, 10:20 ET from Performance Physical Therapy

PROVIDENCE, R.I., Feb. 23, 2016 /PRNewswire/ -- Opioid use is spiraling out of control in the United States, and those suffering from chronic pain need an alternative, STAT. A call is out for more effective pain management strategies, and many are heralding physical therapy as a viable solution.

"The epidemic of opioid abuse has led doctors, healthcare workers and political leaders to look at better ways to address pain in our society," says David Pavao, DPT, OCS, chief clinical officer of Performance Physical Therapy, a physical therapist-owned physical therapy practice with eight locations in Rhode Island.

Headlines of opioid dependence and accidental drug overdose have swept the country during the last decade, with Rhode Island taking one of the hardest hits. In 2014, nearly 250 Rhode Islanders succumbed to overdose, surpassing the number of homicides, motor vehicle accidents, and suicides combined.

One key to controlling this drug epidemic is educating the public about alternative methods of controlling pain. Physical therapy, Pavao explains, can effectively manage pain before it becomes a chronic problem. "Physical therapy offers effective treatments for both acute and chronic pain, and therapists should be an important part of the care team for patients dealing with pain," he says.

Furthermore, recent research from the journal Pain Medicine showed that patients perform better in a physical therapy program and regain function faster when not prescribed opioid medications. "It's important for patients to understand there are safe alternatives like physical therapy to deal with their pain," says Pavao.

An individualized physical therapy plan aims to reduce a patient's pain and associated disability, improve function, and promote health and well-being. Following an evaluation, a physical therapist addresses chronic pain with strengthening and flexibility exercises, manual therapy, posture awareness and body mechanics instruction.

To spread the message that conservative, nondrug approaches can effectively manage pain, the American Physical Therapy Association (APTA) has joined others in the federal, state, local and private sectors to address the prescription drug epidemic. A multidisciplinary clinical approach—with physical therapists serving on the care team alongside physicians and other healthcare providers—can improve quality of life for patients with acute and chronic pain.

Rhode Island is also making major waves in the fight against narcotic addiction and abuse. The tiny New England state is laser focused on prevention, and actively putting plans in motion to control the over-prescription of narcotics from the State House down to local physician groups.

The prevalence of opioid-related death and addiction directly correlates to an increase in opioid prescriptions. Rhode Island has established an online program to monitor narcotic prescriptions, and a growing number of healthcare providers enforce aggressive 3-day prescribing limits for opioids obtained from the emergency department.

About Performance Physical Therapy
Performance Physical Therapy is a physical therapist-owned physical therapy practice demonstrating best-in-industry methods to achieve movement without pain. Our patients value the non-invasive, evidence-based treatment we provide. With eight clinics throughout Rhode Island, Performance employs more board certified Physical Therapists than any other practice in the state. We specialize in spinal, orthopedic and post-surgical conditions, as well as sports injuries. Additional programs include women's health, dry needling, occupational health, hand therapy, athletic training, arthritis, balance disorders, aquatics, fitness and prevention programs. Please see our website at www.performanceptri.com or call 401.726.7100.

SOURCE Performance Physical Therapy