Opioids are usually prescribed for chronic pain. Amid the opioid epidemic, it’s now known that opioid use is associated with dangerous risks including opioid use disorder, overdose, and death. It’s also known that opioids are neither effective in the treatment of chronic pain nor are they worth the risk.
The CDC recognizes several non-pharmacologic interventions that are effective to manage chronic pain. At the top of the list: exercise. “Exercise therapy reduced pain and improved function in chronic low back pain; improved function and reduced pain in osteoarthritis of the knee and hip; and improved well-being, fibromyalgia symptoms, and physical function in fibromyalgia.” (CDC, 2016)
Numerous studies have proven that physical therapy is an adequate modality for chronic pain. In fact, the amount of research on this topic is so great that the idea of exercise therapy for chronic pain management, as well as symptom-related distress resulting from chronic pain, is now universally undisputed.
References: Dowell D, Haegerich TM, Chou R, Division of Unintentional Injury Prevention NCfIPaC, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Atlanta, Georgia. CDC Guideline for Prescribing Opioids for Chronic Pain—United States, 2016. JAMA. 2021;315:1624-1645.