An epidemic is occurring in the United States and needs to be dealt with. This epidemic is the use of opioids in pain management.

opioid epidemic

The Center for Disease Control, along with the American College of Physicians and the Health and Medicine Division of the National Academies are urging health care professionals to recommend safer options for most pain management not related to cancer.

One alternative to avoid the risks of addiction and other dangerous side effects is physical therapy. It is not only safer but often more effective in long term management of chronic pain.

Four agencies, the CDC, the Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation, the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration and the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, have compiled statistics on the over use of opioids for pain management. These are the top 7 facts from their research:

  1. During 2016, doctors in the United States gave out over 214 million opiod prescriptions for pain. This means that out of every 100 people receiving a prescription, 66.5 got prescriptions for opioids. Statistics are even worse for many other countries.
  2. About 1 out of every 4 people taking opioids as part of their long term pain management become addicted.
  3. Overdose deaths from prescription opioids for pain management were 183,000 for the years 1999 through 2015.
  4. Opioid abuse has doubled among adults who are 50 years and over. Though it was an increase from 1 percent to 2 percent, such an increase is still troubling. Fortunately, the abuse of opioids has dropped among young Americans.
  5. Emergency departments in hospitals see over 1000 people every day because of the misuse of opioids.
  6. Accidental overdoses of opioids are more likely among veterans than non-veterans. In fact, veterans are twice as likely to accidentally overdose.
  7. From 2005 through 2014, there was a 75% increase in the number of women hospitalized for opioid related problems.

We could see an improvement for these statistics if better, safer pain management options are used rather than giving out prescriptions for opioid narcotics. Physical therapy offers a much safer alternative that not only does a better job in pain management but also helps patient recover from illness and injury, bringing them closer to regaining the physical movement and mobility they had prior to the illness or injury. No drug can do that but physical therapy by qualified professional physical therapists can.

Learn how physical therapy help you avoid becoming part of the opioid epidemic. Visit