Nebraska 11x17_Afraid of Taking Pain Medication?

Nebraska Orthopaedic Newsletter

AFRAID OF TAKING PAIN MEDICATION? How Physical Therapy Is The Natural Pain Relief Solution.

• Afraid Of Taking Pain Medication? How Physical Therapy Is The Natural Pain Relief Solution. •How Physical Therapy Counters The Problem. • Patient Spotlights • Immunity Boosting Tips

Nebraska Orthopaedic Newsletter

AFRAID OF TAKING PAIN MEDICATION? How Physical Therapy Is The Natural Pain Relief Solution.

A simple question, should you take a pill to mask your pain, or should you try to fix the underlying cause? It seems like almost every news broadcast these days features a story about a disturbing cluster of drug overdoses, with the word “opioid” prominently featured. So why are these prescription drugs -- which after all, are legal if they were prescribed to the user -- so much in the news these days? And what can you do if you’re torn between not filling your own prescription, versus seeking relief for your very real pain? Why Opioid OveruseMatters. Both opioid prescription rates and deaths from opioid overdoses have quadrupled in the last two decades. Given these identical statistics, one can’t escape the obvious conclusion: Reliance on painkillers has gotten out of hand, and the consequences can be literally fatal.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), doctors now write so many opioid prescriptions each year that it translates to one bottle per adult living in the U.S.Of the 330,000 people who died fromdrug overdoses in 2015, 50 percent involved prescription painkillers. Just as ominous is the discovery that people who become addicted to prescription opioids are 40 times more likely to become addicted to heroin. Beyond extreme physical risk, over-reliance on prescription painkillers can have other detrimental effects on your health. Withdrawal symptoms can be harrowing. And while you’re still using them, opioids can lead to depression, which sets up a vicious cycle of self-medicating in order to feel better emotionally as well as physically.


It’s important to get real about the reason people seek prescription painkillers in the first place -- the pain. These patients are not to be condemned for seeking relief for injuries, arthritis and other degenerative conditions, or for post-surgical discomfort. At the same time, however, it’s becoming increasingly obvious that medications like Percocet, Vicodin, Opana, and OxyContin are extremely addictive. Physical therapy, on the other hand, is so effective because it provides a multi-pronged attack to pain relief. First, therapists can help lessen the immediate pain through heat or ice therapy, lasers, as well as low-pulse electronic equipment. Targeted massage and gentle stretching also ease extreme discomfort when tension or stiffness is part of the problem. In addition, physical therapy works to eradicate the actual source of your pain. So, if weak muscles aren’t supporting an aching body part, for example, your therapy will address this underlying cause. Flexibility moves can also contribute to pain relief because stiffening joints often exacerbate discomfort, or lead to over- reliance on nearby, overstressed muscles. When “PT” is Better than “Rx”. It’s important to remember that not every prescription is bad or dangerous and that you don’t

GET PT FIRST! The Average Cost of Physical Therapy vs. Other Healthcare Expenses: Are you wondering whether your pain should be addressed with PT first? We will give you a thorough evaluation of your specific condition. Should our trained staff determine that physical therapy can make a real difference in eradicating your pain, we’ll give you an honest timetable and a safe strategy to avoid prescription painkiller overuse. The “risk vs. reward” question tilts more heavily toward “risk.” There are certain diseases that cause intense pain and for which opioids help patients to function, or at least to remain comfortable. But when the condition could be better managed with physical therapy or other treatment, as opposed to addictive pills, the “reward” of taking the painkillers doesn’t merit the risk. have to “suck it up,” refusing all painkillers. But there are specific conditions under which the CDC recommends trying physical therapy first: The pain has persisted for three months. After the 90-day mark, pain is considered chronic, meaning that painkiller use would also hit the dangerous 90-day mark. This can certainly lead to addiction. The source of the problem is in the knees, back or hips, or stems from fibromyalgia. Physical therapy has proven especially effective in these situations.


1. Wash your hands. 2. Avoid touching your face with your hands. 3. Decide to get up and get moving. 4. Make a habit of 20-30 minutes of physical activity a day. 5. Maintain a nutr i t ious diet heavy on fruits and vegetables. 6. Take essential vitamins such as Vitamin C, D, and B6. 7. Aim for 8-9 hours of sleep each night. 8. Don’t smoke. 9. Drink plenty of water. 10. Take time to stretch.

11. Take frequent breaks for breathing exercises. Inhale and exhale deeply. 12. Cont i nue your home exercise program 2-3 times per week. In order to be healthy, there needs to be a large emphasis on movement. When your body is flexible, strong, well-balanced, and fueled by a nutritious diet, it is able to fight infection and reduce the impact of viruses. We are dedicated to helping you live the best life you can. During this time, if you cannot make it to your physical therapy appointments, continue your exercises at home. We care for you and remember, you are part of our Nebraska Orthopaedic Physical Therapy Family.

10 Physical Therapy Visits



1 MRI 2 Night


Hospital Stay 1 Year Supply of Opiods


Make Your Choice PT First! Call (402) 721-1112

Patient Spotlights

“I’m walking upright for the first time in years!” “Suffering from chronic back pain has been a “normal” part of my life for the past 2 years. I had gone to a chiropractor and had injections with no relief. My doctor recommended that I try physical therapy before taking the next step of possibly needing surgery. I was skeptical as to if therapy would make a difference, but at this point, I was willing to try anything to relieve the pain. I saw a noticeable difference by my 3rd visit as I was walking upright for the first time in years. Strengthening my core and doing exercises to keepmy hips aligned relievedmy back pain completely! - Robert

“Back to work without any limitations!” “I injured my hand at work, had surgery to repair tendons, but dreaded dealing with insurance and Workman’s Comp more than the injury itself! NOPT provided a hassle free experience in regards to insurance and billing, and were able to rehab my hand so that I could return to work without any limitations.” -J. P.

Exercise Essentials

Immunity Boost Vegan Bean Soup

SIDELYING TRUNK ROTATION While lying on your side with your arms out-stretched in front of your body, slowly twist your upper body to the side and rotate your spine. Your arms and head should also be rotating along with the spine as shown. Follow your hand with your eyes. Hold for 20 seconds repeat 3 times on each side.

Helps with lower back pain.

INGREDIENTS • 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil • 1 red onion, diced • 4 garlic cloves, minced • 2 medium carrots, diced • 2 tbs ginger, finely grated

• 4 cups lima beans • 1 tsp turmeric powder

• 1.5 L (6 cups) vegetable broth • 1 small bunch of Tuscan kale, roughly chopped • Salt & pepper to taste

DIRECTIONS In a large saucepan, heat the oil and onion on medium heat until onion has slightly browned. Add in garlic and cook for another 1-2 minutes, followed by carrots, ginger, beans, and turmeric cooking for a further 5-7 minutes. Once the ingredients are well combined, pour in the vegetable broth. Bring to a boil and simmer for 10 minutes. Add in kale and season to taste. Once the kale softens a little, the soup is ready.

Exercises copyright of

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