Alternative to managing pain without opioids

(WZAW) -- No one wants to live in pain, but no one should put their health at risk in an effort to be pain free. That's why the CDC recommends reducing opioid use and instead turning to safer alternatives like physical therapy to manage pain.

Physical therapy proven to reduce and manage pain (Photo source: American Physical Therapy Association)

Doctor-prescribed opioids are appropriate in some cases, but they just mask the pain.

Opioid risks include depression, overdose, and addiction, plus withdrawal symptoms when stopping use.

More than 20% of Americans live with chronic pain. Prescribing rates continue to remain very high in certain areas across the country- in 16% of U.S. counties, enough opioid prescriptions were dispensed for every person to have one.

Sarah Wenger, an American Physical Therapy Association spokeswoman, talked on NewsChannel 7 at 4 to discuss how physical therapy can be a safe and effective alternative.

Physical therapists treat pain through movement, hands-on care, and patient education -- and by increasing physical activity you can also reduce your risk of other chronic diseases.

"I think the biggest message is that pain is very complicated. It's physiologically complicated, and every person is different. So it's really important when you are seeking help for your pain, when you're discussing your pain with your health care provider, that you're making sure that they have all the information they need about you, that they're giving you different options. There shouldn't be just one, [but] it's individualized," Wenger said.