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The opioid epidemic continues to devastate lives and communities in the United States. Properly dosed, opioids are an appropriate part of health care in some cases. However, given the risks of long-term opioid use, the CDC recommends nonopioid approaches like physical therapy for the management of most chronic noncancer pain.

Opioids are a classification of drugs that includes hydrocodone (Vicodin), oxycodone (OxyContin and Percocet, which combines oxycodone with acetaminophen), oxymorphone (Opana), and methadone.

Whereas opioids only mask the sensation of pain, physical therapists treat pain through movement, hands-on care, and patient education, resulting in positive side effects like improved mobility, independence, and wellness.

In response to America's opioid epidemic, the CDC released guidelines calling for safe nonopioid alternatives like physical therapy for most pain treatment.

Physical therapists are movement experts. They improve quality of life through hands-on care, patient education, and prescribed movement. You can contact a physical therapist directly for an evaluation. To find a physical therapist in your area, visit Find a PT.

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