Physical Therapy Versus Opioids

21 August 2019Physical Therapy

There has been much talk in the medical community and in the news/media regarding alternatives to opioid use. This includes the discussion of physical therapy versus opioids. It is no secret that America has struggled with dependence on opioids, as it is a quick and effective solution for acute pain. However, more and more research is emerging, showing the confirmed dangers of prescribing opioids for managing pain. Luckily, F.I.T. Muscle & Joint Clinic provides alternatives to opioids in Kansas City.

What we know about opioids

While we do know that we need more research to better differentiate when opioids are most appropriate for managing pain, we are also growing in awareness of the major downsides of opioid use. More doctors are reducing their prescriptions and turning to physical therapy versus opioids.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) even released an opioid prescription guideline in March 2016 to better guide medical professionals and help them determine when it is appropriate to prescribe opioids and when other nonpharmacological approaches may be a better suited alternative.

Physical therapy versus opioids use

Physical therapy services are an effective form of nonpharmacological pain management, with the added benefit of not only addressing and minimizing or eliminating pain, but also significantly impacting function and quality of life in a positive way. 

Additionally, the American Physical Therapy Association (APTA), in a citation of the CDC’s 2016 opioid prescription guidelines, surmises that physical exercise has a high-quality level of evidence to back its effectiveness in the management of musculoskeletal pain (for example, hip pain). 

Exercise is a cornerstone of skilled physical therapy treatment plans. However, other treatment interventions, such as hands-on manual therapy treatments (including dry needling and Instrument Assisted Soft Tissue Mobilization or IASTM), have also been shown to be highly effective in managing pain and improving function. 

These techniques are a key part of the services offered by our physical therapists at all our F.I.T. Muscle & Joint Clinic locations. We have your back – literally! 

Where to go for alternatives to opioids in Kansas City

Is musculoskeletal pain is something you’ve been dealing with? Do you want to take steps in a meaningful direction to getting your function and quality of life back—without the potential risks of taking prescription pain medications? If you answered yes to any of these questions, please don’t settle for suffering any longer. 

Call and schedule an appointment with one of our skilled doctors at F.I.T. and let us team up with you on the journey to a healthier and happier you! 





Dowell, D., Haegerich, T.M., Chou, R. (2016). CDC guideline for prescribing opioids for chronic pain. Recommendations and Reports;65(1):1-49.