Study Shows Americans Prefer Physical Therapy Over Opioids

A new survey has shown that Americans prefer non-drug alternatives to treat pain despite the nation’s ongoing opioid epidemic.

The research brief (Americans Prefer Drug-Free Pain Management Over Opioids), released in early September 2017, is based on data collected from February through March 2017. The full study from Gallup-Palmer College of Chiropractic Annual Study of Americans will be available in October.

Out of the 6,300 adults that were surveyed, 78% stated they preferred non-drug alternatives to treat their physical pain. On top of that, 41% found physical therapy as the most effective treatment option.

Two-thirds reported having neck or back pain great enough to seek care from a health care provider, and 54% reported having neck and back pain for at least 5 years.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) released opioid prescribing guidelines in March 2016, urging prescribers to reduce the use of opioids in favor of safer alternatives, like physical therapy. In these guidelines, the CDC cites “high-quality evidence” supporting exercise as part of a physical therapy treatment plan for conditions such as low back pain.

Physical therapists treat pain through movement and exercise and partner with patients to improve or maintain their mobility and quality of life.


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