Physiotherapy reduces use of strong painkillers in people with musculoskeletal pain
A large study has found that early physiotherapy is associated with about 10% reduction in opioid painkiller use.
Publishing their findings in JAMA Network Open, a team looked at data from nearly 89,000 people aged 18–64 years with shoulder, neck, knee or low back pain. Almost 30% of the participants had early physiotherapy and this was associated with a significant reduction in the incidence of any opioid use. For those people who did use opioids, early physiotherapy was associated with a 10% reduction in the amount of opioid use for shoulder pain, knee pain and low back pain, but not for neck pain.
“Early physical therapy appears to be associated with subsequent reductions in longer-term opioid use and lower-intensity opioid use for all of the musculoskeletal pain regions examined,” the research team concludes. “By serving as an alternative or adjunct to short-term opioid use for patients with musculoskeletal pain, early physical therapy may play a role in reducing the risk of long-term opioid use.”
Click here to read the original findings.