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Physical Therapy

Physical therapy is an effective form of treatment for musculoskeletal, neurological, and arthritic conditions.

Depending on your condition, physical therapy can be used instead of, or in conjunction with, medication. The over-prescription and misuse of opioid drugs are costing people their lives.1 People are turning to physical therapy as a safe alternative.

Professional physical therapy is used to treat people of all ages. In young people, physical therapy is often used to help patients recover from an injury or trauma. For those suffering from chronic pain, physical therapy can help with pain management and reduce dependence on opioids. In older patients, it improves overall mobility and balance, decreases pain and stiffness, and reduces the likelihood of a fall.2

If you're concerned about your dependence on strong painkillers, talk to your primary care physician to discuss whether you could benefit from physiotherapy. The Bronx is home to 327 officially licensed physiotherapists who can help with your pain management,3 offering services such as:

Physiotherapy and pain management

In many instances, physiotherapy is an effective alternative to the use of opioids and other strong painkillers or can be used in conjunction with milder painkillers to relieve pain.4 Acute pain can be prevented from becoming chronic pain through the use of physiotherapy.5 The Bronx has been particularly hard hit by the opioid crisis,6 and wherever possible, we want to offer and promote the use of effective alternatives, such as professional physical therapy. Here are some statistics relating to the “Opioid Epidemic” and the effectiveness of physical therapy in pain management.

  • In 2017, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services declared a public health emergency on what it called the Opioid Epidemic.7
  • That same year, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported that over 130 people died every day from opioid-related drug overdoses, and 36% of those deaths involved prescription opioids.8
  • Men in Bronx county are over 50% more likely to die of opioid overdose than the average man in the U.S.9
  • A recent study on patients with back pain revealed that those who were first referred to physical therapy were less likely to require surgery and injections, and fewer of these patients made specialist or emergency visits within the first year of primary consultation. As a result, patients who sought physical therapy first saved 72% on the cost of their first-year treatment.10.
  • Not only can it be used as an alternative to strong painkillers, but physiotherapy is also used in rehabilitation centers to treat addiction by stimulating the nervous system and releasing endorphins naturally.11
  • Drug treatment centers use physiotherapy as part of their recovery programs for people addicted to drugs (including both opioid and over-the-counter painkillers) and alcohol.12

Physical injury recovery

Rehabilitation in the form of physical therapy can help to rebuild bone and muscle strength after an accident or after surgery, help with pain management, and prevent repeat injuries. A well-equipped physical rehabilitation center offers therapies to treat all kinds of physical injuries.13

Neurological physiotherapy

Brain injury, spinal cord injury, stroke, and neurological diseases such as Parkinson's all affect how our brains and our bodies interact. We have an incredible and intricately interconnected nervous and neuromuscular system, and any disease or injury affecting either one can cause loss of movement, loss of balance and coordination, tremors, and spasms.14

Physiotherapy helps to rebuild the connections broken through injury and has been shown to be effective in delaying loss of function in patients with Parkinson's, as part of a multidisciplinary approach, improving quality of life.15

Here at BronxDocs

Patients of all ages are referred to us with a variety of symptoms and conditions, including sports injuries, arthritis, post-surgery recovery, and chronic pain.

We offer physical therapy sessions in our Physical Rehabilitation Center, which is equipped with a variety of machines that include stationary bikes, treadmills, and strengthening machines such as leg press and multi-hip, as well as gym balls with a focus on core stabilization and strength training.

We also want to empower our patients to continue making leaps and bounds in their progress at home. Our physical therapists will work together with you to provide you with a detailed and instructed home exercise regimen.

Citations

1. Department of Health and Human Services. “What is the U.S. Opioid Epidemic?” (2019) Retrieved from: https://www.hhs.gov/opioids/about-the-epidemic/index.html Oct. 2019.

2. APTA. “Role of a Physical Therapist.” (2003) Retrieved from: http://www.apta.org/PTCareers/RoleofaPT/%20 Oct. 2019.

3. New York State Education Department. “Physical Therapy: License Statistics” (July 2019) Retrived from: http://www.op.nysed.gov/prof/pt/ptcounts.htm Oct. 2019.

4. APTA “Providing a Safe Alternative to Opioids: Resources for Pain Management” Retrieved from: https://www.ptnow.org/Opioid. Oct. 2019.

5. Steffens D, Maher CG, Pereira LSM, et al. Prevention of Low Back Pain: A Systematic Review and Meta-analysis. JAMA Intern Med. 2016;176(2):199–208. doi:10.1001/jamainternmed.2015.7431

6. LiveStories (statistics taken from CDC Wonders.) “Bronx County Opioid Death Statistics.” Retrieved from: https://www.livestories.com/statistics/new-york/bronx-county-opioids-deaths-mortality Oct. 2019.

7. Department of Health and Human Services. (2019)

8. CDC. “America's Drug Overdose Epidemic: Data to Action” (2017) Retrieved from: https://www.cdc.gov/injury/features/prescription-drug-overdose/index.html Oct. 2019.

9. LiveStories. “Bronx County Opioid Death Statistics”

10. Fritz, Julie M et al. “Physical Therapy or Advanced Imaging as First Management Strategy Following a New Consultation for Low Back Pain in Primary Care: Associations with Future Health Care Utilization and Charges.” Health services research vol. 50,6 (2015): 1927-40. doi:10.1111/1475-6773.12301

11. Mark Bishop, PT, PhD; Eric Chaconas, PT, PhD; and Ahmed Rashwan, PT, DPT, “Beyond Physical Therapy and the Opioid Crisis” NEXT Conference and Exposition  (2018) Referenced in PT in Motion News Jul. 2. 2018 Retrieved from: https://www.apta.org/PTinMotion/News/2018/7/2/NEXT/AddictionTreatment/ Oct. 2019.

12. Alta Mira. “Physical Therapy in Drug and Alcohol Recovery” Retrieved from: https://www.altamirarecovery.com/alcoholism/physical-therapy-drug-alcohol-recovery/ Oct. 2019.

13. APTA. “Role of a Physical Therapist.” (2003)

14. Active Rehabilitation Physiotherapy. “Neurological Physiotherapy” Retrieved from: https://activerehab.com.au/services/rehabilitation/neurological-physiotherapy/ Oct. 2019.

15. Tomlinson, C.L. “Physiotherapy intervention in Parkinson's disease: Systematic review and meta-analysis” BMJ (Aug. 2012); 345 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.e5004