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As the Opioid Epidemic surges on, doctors of physical therapy encourage people to choose a healthier treatment to chronic pain — #ChoosePT

  • Healthcare Alvernia

As the Opioid Epidemic surges on, doctors of physical therapy encourage people to choose a healthier treatment to chronic pain — #ChoosePT

In the past 16 years over 165,000 people in the U.S. have died from opioid-related overdoses.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports that as many as 1 in 4 people who receive prescription opioids for long-term, non-cancer related pain struggles with addiction, and those addicted to prescription opioids are 40 times more likely to become addicted to heroin.

Pennsylvania is also one of the states with the greatest increase in drug overdose deaths between 2013 and 2014 according to the CDC.

Choose PT for pain management Doctors of physical therapy and the CDC alike know, however, that there is an opioid alternative — a treatment method that does not use drugs — and that is physical therapy.

With the rise of the opioid epidemic, the CDC released new guidelines that recommend non-drug treatment alternatives to addictive prescription painkillers.

“Non-pharmacologic therapy and non-opioid pharmacologic therapy are preferred for chronic pain,” the CDC’s recommended guidelines state. “The contextual evidence review found that many non-pharmacologic therapies, including physical therapy, weight loss for knee osteoarthritis, psychological therapies such as [cognitive behavioral therapy or CBT], and certain interventional procedures can ameliorate chronic pain.”

It is for this reason that the American Physical Therapy Association (APTA) launched its new campaign titled #ChoosePT, with hopes of educating the public as well as healthcare professionals on the pain-relieving power of this healthy, non-opioid alternative treatment.

“APTA agrees with the CDC’s position that non-pharmacologic therapy, such as physical therapy, is the best first choice to reduce pain and improve function,” the organization explains in its recent position paper.

“Physical therapy is a safe and effective alternative to opioids for long-term pain management. Physical therapists are movement experts who treat pain through movement, rather than just masking the sensation of pain.”

Through the all-intensive curriculum at Alvernia University, Doctor of Physical Therapy students will learn how to treat and bring alleviation to patients experiencing chronic pain.  Courses such as DPT 604: Health Care Policy and Issues in Physical Therapy also inform students on current issues within the healthcare arena, including epidemiology and chronic illness, and how the physical therapy industry approaches such issues.

Hear more about the #ChoosePT campaign from APTA president Sharon Dunn and other APTA members in the video below.

Effective November 12, 2014, Alvernia University has been granted Candidate for Accreditation status by the Commission on Accreditation in Physical Therapy Education (1111 North Fairfax Street, Alexandria, VA, 22314; phone: 703-706-3245; email: accreditation@apta.org). Candidacy is not an accreditation status nor does it assure eventual accreditation. Candidate for Accreditation is a pre-accreditation status of affiliation with the Commission on Accreditation in Physical Therapy Education that indicates the program is progressing toward accreditation.

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