Are you taking opioids for your arthritis pain? Did you know that opioids like morphine and oxycodone are actually making your arthritis worse? Drugs like these alter your perception of pain, but they don’t relieve it. So if you’re taking an opioid and believe it’s relieving your pain, know that it’s actually doing nothing to improve the symptoms of your arthritis. Opioids are not the only option you have to get relief from arthritis! Call our office to schedule an appointment with a physical therapist to learn more about how treatment can help.
How Arthritis Happens
Osteoarthritis, or “arthritis,” is a degenerative condition that affects the joints. The connecting joints between bones are made of cartilage, and if that cartilage becomes weak or depleted, it can cause bones to grind and scrape together. One of the main causes of arthritis is simply getting older; our joints just wear out as we age and that’s normal. However, there are other factors like genetics, repetitive physical jobs, playing high-impact sports, or being overweight, which can increase a person’s chances of developing arthritis. This condition also affects weight-bearing joints, such as the hips and knees, but it’s common for it to also develop in many other joints.
How To Know If You Have Arthritis
Have you ever woken up in the morning and felt like a joint or two was stiff? The most common symptom of arthritis is pain in the joint or joints that have lost too much cartilage. Or what about every day activities, do you notice that simple tasks like bending down are painful for you? Activities that use an affected joint will cause pain; the joint will hurt if you touch it or apply pressure to it. A joint can also be considered arthritic if it makes cracking and popping noises when it is used. As a defense mechanism, your body might try to grow new bone structure in the affected joint, which will be extremely painful.
Physical Therapy Can Help Arthritis
As previously stated, opioids can alter how you perceive pain so that your brain thinks you are no longer suffering from the effects of arthritis. This is not a long-term fix. Your bones are still grinding together, your cartilage is being worn down, and ultimately your condition is worsening. Before you know it, you’ll be in need of an even stronger painkiller, and most likely a pretty expensive surgery down the road.
There are better options out there to relieve arthritis pain. Physical therapy is one of them! Physical therapy can help you get rid of painkillers once and for all, and also keep you from spending thousands for surgery. A physical therapist will examine you and determine what activities trigger your pain symptoms. From there, he or she will create a customized exercise program that will help support your joint structures, and ultimately relieve your arthritis pain.
A physical therapist will be able to show you how to adjust your work area and home so that you can put less stress on the impacted joints. There are a multitude of different therapies, but manual therapy (targeted massage of painful joints) will probably be included in your treatment.
Your physical therapy treatment will also include an exercise plan for you to do at home to improve your health. Losing weight can also be an effective way to relieve arthritis pain, so if you’re overweight, your therapist might include weight loss exercises and advice on nutrition in your exercise plan. It won’t all be on you to bear though, your physical therapist will be there to keep you motivated throughout your entire treatment!
Opioids carry significant health risks. While they may temporarily numb the pain of arthritis, they do nothing to slow it down. It’s time to try physical therapy, a safe and effective alternative that will improve your symptoms with no risk to you. Call our office today to get your appointment set up with your physical therapist, and get back to living a pain-free life.