During National Physical Therapy Month in October, Casa Loma College’s PTA Program encourages you to learn about the many benefits of physical therapy –

Maximize your movement. Participate in your recovery. Avoid opioids. Avoid surgery.

Choose physical therapy!

 #ChoosePT campaign raises awareness about the dangers of prescription opioids and encourages consumers and prescribers to follow guidelines by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to choose safer alternatives like physical therapy. Here are some key messages of this campaign:

  • Opioid medications are prescribed at alarming rates.

While there has been a decrease in opioid prescription in recent years, they are still prescribed at alarming rates. According to the CDC, in 2016 health care providers wrote 214 million prescriptions for opioid pain medication.

  • The risk for misusing prescription opioids is real.

According to the CDC, every day, over 1,000 people are treated in emergency departments for misusing prescription opioids.

  • The risk for addiction is real.

According to the CDC, as many as 1 in 4 people who receive prescription opioids long-term for non-cancer pain in primary care settings struggles with addiction.

  • The risk for heroin use is real.

According to the CDC, among new heroin users, about 3 out of 4 report abusing prescription opioids before using heroin.

  • Physical therapy is a safe and effective alternative to opioids for long-term pain management.

In March 2016, the CDC released guidelines urging non-opioid approaches for the management of chronic pain.

  • There are some situations in which opioid therapy is appropriate.
  • The CDC guidelines indicate that opioids may be appropriates for situations including cancer treatment, palliative care, end-of-life care, and certain acute care situations. Still, the CDC guidelines also suggest pairing opioid therapy with non-opioid therapy, and their prescriber checklist recommends trying non-opioid therapy first.
  • Patients have a choice about the kind of treatment they receive.

Before accepting a prescription for opioids, patients should talk to their health care providers about related risks and safer alternatives.