Skip to main content

Health Center

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

Why See a Physical Therapist for Pain?

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

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

You can contact a physical therapist directly for an evaluation. To find a physical therapist in your area, visit Find a PT.

Find a PT Near You!

 

Symptoms & Conditions Guides

Explore other symptoms and conditions guides.


Featured Content

Prescription bottle open with pills spilling out.

Health Tips


Physical Therapy vs Opioids: When to Choose Physical Therapy for Pain Management
Spilling bottle of prescription pills.

Health Tips


7 Staggering Statistics About America's Opioid Epidemic
Closeup of a woman's face.

Health Tips


9 Things You Should Know About Pain
PT working on patient's shoulder.

Health Tips


5 Tips to Manage Chronic Pain

Additional Opioid Use for Pain Content

CDC Recommends Physical Therapy and Other Nondrug Options for Chronic Pain

Mar 16, 2016 | Did You Know?

Tapering Long-Term Opioid Use Can Improve Pain Severity, Increase Life Quality

Oct 16, 2017 | Did You Know?

Beyond Opioids: Justin Minyard’s Journey to Gain Control Over Chronic Pain

Sep 13, 2019 |

Recommendations for Tapering Off Long-term Opioid Use Hint: Don’t Go Cold Turkey

Nov 26, 2019 | Did You Know?

Physical Therapy and Pilates Enabled a Man With Crohn’s to Overcome Chronic Pain

Oct 18, 2019 |

See all Opioid Use for Pain content