America’s Drug Problem: Pain Medication

March 23rd, 2016
America’s Drug Problem: Pain Medication

In 2012, 259 million opioid pain medication prescriptions were written, enough for every adult in America to have a bottle of pills. 1

It’s gotten to the point where even during the Super Bowl— the pinnacle of television watching—there was a commercial for opioid induced constipation. As a nation we’ve taken so much opioids that we’ve created an entirely new problem, and most people think the solution is to take more medication. I have nothing against pharmaceuticals, but if a Physical Therapist gave me exercises to fix a problem that was caused by other exercises they gave me, I’d stop physical therapy!

Try this analogy: Taking pain medication is like mopping the floor when the faucet is leaking. Instead we should stop and fix the faucet from leaking (cause) and then we won’t need to mop up the floor (symptoms).1

There has to be another way to manage pain, right? Well, according to the rest of the world, yes! The United States comprises about 4.6% of the world’s population and yet we consume 80% of all the opioids produced and 99% of the world’s hydrocodone.2

If you’ve been dealing with chronic pain and have yet to find relief, call your local physical therapist to see if PT would be right for you. Aquatic exercises may be particularly beneficial to assist with exercise tolerance and comfort.

Cole Racich, PT, DPT, OCS