Kansas Physical Therapy Association

Kansas Physical Therapy Association Launches Anti-Opioid Campaign

Message: Choose safer ways to manage pain


Wichita, KS -- (ReleaseWire) -- 11/17/2016 --As Physical Therapy Month concludes, the Kansas Physical Therapy Association (KPTA) begins its first-ever anti-opioid campaign, timed to bring new awareness to the state's families over the holidays.

The premise of the campaign: There are safer ways to treat pain. Not becoming addicted to pain relief drugs starts by not having surgery in the first place when these drugs are prescribed.

"According to the CDC, one out of four patients taking pain killers after surgeries get addicted to these prescription pain medications," said Camille Snyder, PT, DPT and KPTA Vice President. "It's sad, especially considering opioids are largely ineffective for chronic pain. Research has shown that in the case of low back pain, physical therapy management can be more effective than surgery with lower risk and less cost. Additionally, physical therapy doesn't involve utilization of potentially addictive medications but focuses on movement and exercise to manage pain."

However, research conducted by the American Physical Therapy Association shows that physical therapy is rarely used as a first treatment for pain. The APTA is campaigning to raise awareness of physical therapy as a first treatment strategy to reduce the frequency of opioid prescriptions. In most states, including Kansas, patients have direct access to physical therapy and do not need to obtain a referral from their primary physician.

"Access to physical therapy has never been easier," Snyder said.

The statistics show the darker side of surgery where drugs are prescribed.

Since 1999, deaths from prescription opioid use have quadrupled. 75 percent of heroin use starts from abuse of prescription opioids. In 2015, nearly 30 percent of Medicare beneficiaries were prescribed opioids.

And this problem is not going away, as 11 percent of adults report having daily pain.

"There is a simple way to greatly reduce this national opioid crisis," said Susie Harms, PT, KPTA President. "Make surgery the second option behind safer first options like physical therapy. Patients are not being presented with non-surgery options first."

In addition to the dangers from prescriptions, surgery costs can be well over 10 times more than the cost of physical therapy, not including the long-term cost from prescriptions.

The KPTA suggests that patients complete a self-assessment pain profile that can be downloaded at its web site, kpta.com. This profile can then be used in patients' discussions with their doctors.

In Kansas, patients can move forward in their lives by direct access to physical therapy and can see a physical therapist directly to explore their pain management options.

For more information, visit kpta.com or the KPTA Facebook page.

About Kansas Physical Therapy Association
The Kansas Physical Therapy Association is the member organization of physical therapists and physical therapist assistants that represents, promotes and advocates for the profession of physical therapy, facilitates best practice and assists members in meeting the physical therapy needs of the community.

To learn more, visit kpta.com.