Choose Physical Therapy for Safe Pain Management. #ChoosePT

No one wants to live in pain. But no one should put their health at risk in an effort to be pain-free. Doctor-prescribed opioids are appropriate in some cases, but they just mask the pain - and opioid risks include depression, overdose, and addiction, plus withdrawal symptoms when stopping use.

That's why the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends safer alternatives like physical therapy to manage pain. 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.

Pain is personal, but treating pain takes teamwork. And when it comes to your health, you have a choice: More movement and better health through physical therapy.

October is Physical Therapy Month, so, courtesy of choosept.com, a website of the American Physical Therapy Association, here are some tips on why people are choosing physical therapy over medication.

4 Ways Physical Therapists Manage Pain

Physical therapy is among the safe and effective alternatives to opioids recommended by the CDC for the management of most non-cancer related pain.

Whereas opioids only mask the sensation of pain, physical therapists treat pain through movement, hands-on care, exercise, and patient education.

Here's how physical therapists manage pain:

1. Exercise
A study following 20,000 people over 11 years found that those who exercised on a regular basis, experienced less pain. And among those who exercised more than 3 times per week, chronic widespread pain was 28% less common. Physical therapists can prescribe exercise specific to your goals and needs.

2. Manual Therapy
Research supports a hands-on approach to treating pain. From carpal tunnel syndrome to low back pain, this type of care can effectively reduce your pain and improve your movement. Physical therapists may use manipulation, joint and soft tissue mobilizations, and dry needling, as well as other strategies in your care.

3. Education
A large study conducted with military personnel demonstrated that those with back pain who received a 45-minute educational session about pain, were less likely to seek treatment than their peers who didn't receive education about pain. Physical therapists will talk with you to make sure they understand your pain history, and help set realistic expectations about your treatment.

4. Teamwork
Recent studies have shown that developing a positive relationship with your physical therapist and being an active participant in your own recovery can impact your success. This is likely because physical therapists are able to directly work with you and assess how your pain responds to treatment.