When you hear of physical therapy, what comes to mind? Your first thought may be that PT is strictly for post-operative care. That’s certainly a part of what we do but there’s so much more!
Physical therapists are movement specialists who help patients reduce pain and improve mobility with the goal of avoiding surgery and reducing the need for long-term use of prescription medications and their side effects. And as many of you know, the opioid epidemic is hot topic in the medical world right now. So, what does ‘timely access’ have to do with anything?
Recent data shows only 10% of people are referred to physical therapy compared to 45% who are prescribed opioids. This is not okay! The good news is research continues to demonstrate that improvement in access to physical therapy services actually reduces opioid use and is more cost-effective for both the consumer and healthcare in general.
Our own US Surgeon General recently endorsed physical therapy as a means to curb the opioid epidemic. In fact, studies indicate that patients often wait one month for an appointment to see their primary care provider. That’s valuable time where you could already be working on improvements!
With Wisconsin being a ‘Direct Access’ state, physical therapy can start without a physician’s referral, and by encouraging physical therapy first, research indicates that appointment wait times decreased to just one day, MRI prescriptions decreased by one-third, and total cost of treatment was cut in half.
Think of physical therapy as a first-line treatment when aches or pains arise. Physical therapists can treat head-to-toe conditions including neck and jaw discomfort, and spine or joint pain. They even provide specialty services for pregnant clients, cancer fighters, athletes, and conditions specific to seniors. Think of us when you need someone to help you or your loved ones get moving better.
If you have questions about this or other physical aches and pains, please don’t hesitate to reach out to us for a free telehealth or in-person consultation with one of our physical therapists!
Call to make an appointment at our Milwaukee (414) 224-8219 or Pewaukee (262) 695-3057 location, or email us: firstname.lastname@example.org
(This article was authored by one of our expert physical therapists, Jenna Mielke, PT, DPT. You can schedule with her by calling one of the two phone numbers above or email her at email@example.com)
“Providing a Safe Alternative to Opioids: Research on Pain Management.” APTA’s Research Brief
“Fighting America’s Opioid Epidemic: Providing Safe Solutions for Pain.” APTA’s Position Paper
“Beyond Opioids: How Physical Therapy Can Transform Pain Management to Improve Health.” APTA’s White Paper
Paul Mintken, Jeff Moore, Timothy Flynn. Physical Therapists’ Role In Solving the Opioid Epidemic. Journal of Orthopaedic & Sports Physical Therapy