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Healthy You

Choosing Physical Therapy as an Opioid Alternative

Wednesday, January 31, 2018 9:16 AM

America is in an opioid crisis where many are becoming addicted to prescribed pain pills that often lead to other, more dangerous street drugs. To fight this epidemic, Jason Sweas, Physical Therapist and Clinic Manager at NorthShore, shares an alternative to opioids that many forget – physical therapy.


To help fight pain and not mask it like opioids do, Jason Sweas explains that physical therapy can help by using movement to improve strength, flexibility and range of motion. Physical therapy can be a great alternative to prescription pain medications for some conditions, including:

  • Arthritis
  • Lower back pain
  • Fibromyalgia
  • Neck pain
  • Chronic pain
  • Pre- and post-surgery care

Other opioid alternatives include:

  • Acupuncture is the practice of using needles to be inserted to specific points on the body to improve energetic flow and function.
  • Over-the-counter medicines, such as Tylenol or Advil, have found to be just as effective for most pain conditions when managed properly.
  • Yoga helps improve strength and flexibility while calming the mind and relieving stress.
  • Chiropractic treatments can provide short-term relief to help some spinal pain.

To see what non-opioid route to take, or to learn more about physical therapy opportunities, speak with your primary care physician.