Houston, MO— According to the Centers for Disease Control, over 200,000 Americans have died from prescription opioid overdoses since 1999. In 2016, the number of overdose deaths were five times higher than in 1999.

The United States is currently experiencing a staggering increase in the misuse of prescription opioids. Prescription opioids include drugs such as hydrocodone, oxycodone, codeine and morphine.

Prescription opioids are often used as pain relievers for those experiencing severe acute pain or chronic pain. However, with the rise of opioid overdoses, healthcare providers are trying to change the name of the game, offering healthier, less addictive alternatives for people dealing with pain.

One option to help manage pain without prescription opioids is physical therapy.

Physical therapy allows the patient to work with physical therapists on various exercise regimes to help regain strength and return to life before the pain or injury.

Texas County Memorial Hospital offers physical therapy to help you do just that — return to life.

“We just want to help people get back to the things they enjoy,” Ellen Willis, physical therapy department director said.

TCMH physical therapy offers some unique options for people seeking pain relief, one of which includes an aquatic therapy pool.

Willis explained that the pool is a way to get people eased into land-based exercises they can do at home.

The pool is a great place for patients to start because it takes pressure off a person’s joints while simultaneously allowing them to exercise and regain their strength. The therapy pool is also heated which makes it a comforting environment for those with chronic pain.

Once a patient has regained some strength in the pool, the physical therapists and physical therapy assistants will help the patient move to land-based exercises.

Throughout the therapy process, patients learn how to do their own exercises at home to continue to build strength and gain muscle, which in turn helps to restore their bodies to normal function and reduce their pain.

“The pool helps patients go from thinking they can’t handle the pain or the exercises to slowly becoming more confident in themselves and their ability to exercise on their own at home,” Willis said.

Physical therapy is also a great solution for patients whose physician is slowly taking them off opioids.

Ultimately, physical therapy is a great way for patients to achieve control of their pain and their life again.

“Physical therapy is essential for the return of function in one’s daily life,” Willis said. She added, “It really is life changing.”

If you are experiencing chronic pain, talk to your healthcare provider about alternatives to prescription opioids.

For more information, call TCMH physical therapy at 417-967-1201.

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