Choosing Physical Therapy Over Medication and Surgery: The Benefits
When it comes to types of musculoskeletal injuries or pain, such as knee pain affecting the joints, it is a fact that every person’s body responds differently. Hence, you pretty much have three choices for treatment: medication, surgery, or physical therapy. Depending on the severity of the symptoms, the body’s ability to recover, and your specific recovery goals, you may need more than one. During the course of treatment, a doctor or medical study might also suggest a combination of treatments. In today’s fast-paced healthcare system, consumers must be aware of what options they have for their treatment to avoid potential health issues. If not, they may be led down steps that can have serious effects on their health and wallet. In this blog, we will discuss the main treatment options you have when it comes to treating musculoskeletal injuries like osteoarthritis, tendonitis, sprains, and spine pain, including how they affect the mobility and function of muscles.
What are the benefits of physical therapy over medication and surgery?
When seeking pain relief from a musculoskeletal injury, many people are quick to jump to medication prescribed by their healthcare provider. This makes sense, as they believe it might offer a “quick fix.” Some patients who have had an injury or experience chronic pain may turn to medication, whether over the counter (OTC) or opioids prescribed to help decrease their discomfort. Medication is often easier to get a hold of and less expensive than having surgery.
Surgery is necessary at times, depending on the severity and nature of the injury. For people who have undergone injuries such as spinal cord injuries, soft tissue injuries, fractures, and injuries that cause internal organ damage, surgery can be a must. However, physical therapy after a traumatic injury, can help a person’s body by accelerating recovery. It can help patients heal quicker, improve flexibility, enhance activity, and minimize the development of scar tissue.
There is a third option, however, which is to choose physical therapy as the primary way to cope with injury or chronic pain. YES! There are several benefits that only physical therapy can give you — ways that medication and surgery cannot. Here is a closer look at the benefits of physical therapy:
You don’t have to take any drugs
Many patients do not want to take medications and prefer a more natural option for dealing with an injury or chronic pain. Physical therapy can be that solution. It works by addressing issues at the muscle level, improving mobility and function.
At Move Empower Concierge Physical Therapy we offer our patients evidence-based treatments that include manual therapy, dry needling, IASTM, and therapeutic exercise. We believe active treatments are the most beneficial and expeditious to helping people get back to activities they love to do. That’s why you won’t see our patients passively lying on hot pads hooked up to electrical stimulation to ease their pain. Instead, at Move Empower we focus on hands-on care and education. We teach our patients about their problems and empower them with the tools they need to prevent future pain and injury.
Altogether, these treatments and exercises led by your trained physical therapist can help improve your range of motion, flexibility, and balance and help to reduce pain without the use of medications. The use of medications can have negative and lasting side effects.
It’s not even just prescription medications you need to be concerned about. OTC medications can also have negative consequences on long-term health. Did you know that non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) such as aspirin, Motrin, and Advil, can cause liver and kidney damage with long-term use? Other long-term side effects of NSAIDs can include peptic ulcers, stroke, and heart disease. By choosing to cope with chronic pain in a drug-free way, patients can avoid potential long-term side effects of medication.
It can help you heal quicker
As mentioned before, in some cases, you may need physical therapy following an injury. This can include injuries such as sports injuries or those that are the result of a car accident. Physical therapy promotes proper healing, and because once a muscle or joint is injured it is never quite the same, undergoing physical therapy can actually protect against future injury and surgery. Your doctor may recommend physical therapy to facilitate a strong recovery, improving your body’s resilience against future injuries. This, in the end, can be a valuable step in preventing surgery down the line.
Physical therapy also aids with healing because it increases blood circulation and can alleviate inflammation, thus helping you heal quickly. With each appointment, your strength increases, and inflammation decreases, leading to a faster rehabilitation process, custom-tailored to your needs. This essentially means that your overall fitness level improves, and any stiffness you may have felt reduces significantly. Moreover, the content and quality of our physical therapy sessions contribute to weight maintenance, helping to control weight gain.
It can be more cost effective than medication or surgery alone
Depending on the type of injury you have, physical therapy can work just as well as surgery, if not even better. In events where surgery is necessary, physical therapy, playing a major role in the healing process after surgery, can significantly lower your chances of injuring yourself, as mentioned above. Furthermore, it can help you regulate your blood sugar levels and keep your heart rate and blood pressure in check, thereby assisting in controlling cholesterol levels.
Many medications that patients take to help with chronic pain not only have serious long-term side effects but can also become addictive and costly. Even over-the-counter medications can become costly if a patient requires them to go about their daily tasks at a manageable pain level. Furthermore, constant reliance on such medications can increase anxiety and stress levels, leading to an added layer of complications such as depression. Balanced physical activity can help manage sugar cravings, thus helping prevent unnecessary weight gain.
It may prevent surgery altogether when it comes to sport-related injuries
Did you know that early physical therapy intervention can actually have very promising results for those looking to avoid medication or surgery? Many people see physical therapy as something required after a procedure to help with the healing process (this is true), but physical therapy can also reverse a condition or stop it from progressing and getting worse. It also serves as an avenue for stress relief and decreases anxiety, leading to better mental health.
Surgery can be scary for many people; it can be expensive and have risks involved. It can also be inconvenient for a patient. Physical therapy, on the other hand, is significantly cheaper and has minimal to no risk factors like surgery. Risks associated with surgery include anesthesia complications, bleeding problems and clotting, delayed healing, and breathing challenges after surgery. On the other hand, at Move Empower Concierge Physical Therapy, we provide a tailored, one-on-one approach, delivered to your home or office, ensuring quality treatment.
Our mobile physical therapy services in Austin, TX eliminate your need to drive to PT appointments or feel like just another patient at a crowded physical therapy clinic (and still be way less costly than surgery or medication!). It also has a lot less risk involved when compared to surgery. By opting for physical therapy, either instead of surgery or alongside it, you can improve your outcome and overall sense of well-being and healing, in addition to maintaining a healthy weight and blood sugar level.
If you or someone you love struggles with chronic back pain, you know just how much of an impact it can have on your daily life. Basic tasks such as showering, cleaning, cooking, and more can become increasingly difficult due to the pain you may be experiencing. Driving, working, and even simple chores can become more difficult when dealing with chronic back pain. Through physical therapy, we aim to increase your strength and decrease your pain to facilitate a more comfortable living environment.
Manage chronic back pain, which can affect several areas of your life
How does physical therapy help back pain?
At Move Empower Concierge Physical Therapy, our therapists focus on the “root cause” of your pain. Our fellowship-trained and board-certified orthopedic physical therapists will perform a thorough evaluation to determine the true cause of your back pain and tailor a treatment specific to you, ensuring your rehabilitation is completely suited to your needs. Our hands-on approach helps you get back to the active lifestyle you desire, further improving your fitness level and reducing stiffness.
Physical therapy can be so promising that it can actually heal a patient’s back pain entirely. At the minimum, physical therapy provides a non-surgical way of coping with long-term back pain so that you can get back to doing more of the activities you love, including any sports activities, or spending time with your children (who may want to play and keep you on your feet!). Same as above, with the addition of a detailed discussion on maintaining a balance between building strength through physical therapy and managing weight through proper nutrition, to ensure the fastest possible rate of recovery without risking weight gain or spikes in blood sugar levels.
Want to learn more about how Move Empower Concierge Physical Therapy can help you avoid medication and surgery? Give us a call today at (512) 659-5615 or take advantage of our FREE consultation 30-minute discovery session where we can discuss your pain, understand your needs better, and learn how we can help you get back to the active lifestyle you desire while keeping your health parameters such as weight, blood sugar, and cholesterol under control!