Unless you’ve been avoiding the news over the past year, you have likely heard about the opioid epidemic that is swiftly affecting the United States. Unfortunately, no state or city is completely immune to the effects of this, and Minnesota is definitely being hit hard by this issue. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, “In 2008, the state saw 10 or fewer reports of heroin overdose deaths — too few for the CDC to count individually. Only six years later, it was more than 100”. What people fail to realize is that the opioid epidemic isn’t just affecting addicts, it’s having a serious impact on the relationship doctors and patients have with pain management and medications.
As physical therapists, we have seen first-hand the worries patients have with using opioids to help with pain management. Many would rather go through extreme pain, even right after surgery, than face the risk of becoming addicted to painkillers. On top of that, many doctors now feel they need to be overly cautious about giving out prescriptions to patients. So they will perform in-depth assessments on anyone who chooses to consider pain medication to check on their risk for opioid addiction.
After a patient is given a prescription, there is close monitoring of their pills and could be drug screened. While doctors have the control to help patients’ alleviate their pain management, they still want to ensure their patients are not at risk for experiencing the devastating effects of opioid addiction.
Incorporating physical therapy is becoming a more popular first choice option for pain management by patients and doctors alike. It’s important for everyone both injured and healthy, to know that you can choose to opt for physical therapy before relying on painkillers. Weighing your options? We’d be happy to discuss with you further how physical therapy treatment can help you through your recovery and offer a non-addictive option for your pain.
The Opioid Epidemic Affects Pain Management in Minnesota