Have you second guessed a prescription offered by a doctor for opioids for lower back pain? If so, your instinct might be trying to tell you something.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has issued guidelines in recent years recommending alternatives such as physical therapy for pain conditions not related to cancer, palliative, or end-of-life care.
In addition to recommending alternatives such as physical therapy, the CDC has also issued tighter guidelines to prescribing physicians on how to handle opioids that are prescribed. These guidelines include discussing the dangers of opioid use with patients, prescribing the lowest possible effective dose, and creating a plan for stopping the use of opioids.
Statistics show the dangers related to the use of opioids, not to mention their highly addictive qualities and dangerous side effects. Once you begin taking them, it is difficult to stop. They can come with side effects such as anxiety, muscle pain, irritability, addiction, respiratory depression, dizziness, vomiting, and more.
Physical therapy is an effective course of treatment for many common causes of lower back pain. In fact, the CDC specifically states in their report, “The contextual evidence review found that many nonpharmacologic therapies, including physical therapy...can ameliorate chronic pain.”
It goes on to state, “There is high-quality evidence that exercise therapy (a prominent modality in physical therapy) for hip or knee osteoarthritis reduces pain and improves function immediately after treatment and that the improvements are sustained for at least 2–6 months...Exercise therapy also can help reduce pain and improve function in low back pain…”
Physical therapy is a safer alternative to managing pain like lower back pain and the “side effects” are good ones! With physical therapy for lower back pain, you can expect: