By Ofir Isaac PT, MS, DPT
“Truth is, it is easier for a doctor to write a prescription than to explore other effective options to combat pain,” wrote Dr. Sanjay Gupta in an editorial, CNN chief medical correspondent. “And it is easier for patients to take those prescription pills than to search for alternatives themselves. Both those things must absolutely change.”
Like many of you who have gone to your Primary Care Physician for their yearly physical exam, it’s a routine. We don’t even think about it. Blood pressure check, body temperature check, pulse rate (heart rate) check, and respiratory rate check. Along with the ala cart menu of CBC, urine analysis, vision analysis, and endless choices of pill cocktails for cholesterol, sugar, blood thinning, blood clotting and digestion etc. Some of the medications are necessary and lifesaving but some do more harm than good. If you could be treated without putting harmful drugs into your body wouldn’t you want that choice or option? At ALLCARE Physical Therapy we truly believe that and hope that when you learn more about the benefits of a great Physical Therapist or Therapy program you will choose it over medication.
Recently I was waiting in an over-crowded Brooklyn waiting room for over an hour with my father as he waited to see his family doctor. Our three o’clock appointment turned into a 4:00 o’clock appointment as the doctor was running 10 minutes late, which in the medical lingo means adds an hour. As we waited, I couldn’t help but overhear the patients sharing their stories about aches and pains with each other.
Being a Physical Therapist with a specialization in PAIN management, I was almost inclined to interrupt the conversations as I heard such things as “I always get pain right here “pointing vaguely to their shoulder blade, or back, neck or knees. After 30 minutes of listening to complaints of aches and pains I found myself in conversation with a gentleman of some 60ish years named Yossi. Yossi like many people are unaware of what a physical therapist does or how physical therapy can help alleviate or eliminate chronic pain. Suffering from neuro-musculoskeletal chronic pain, Yossi told me that he was an accountant as he fiddled with his iPhone looking up and down at his emails, he pointed to his right shoulder and neck and said it felt tight and he felt shooting pain into his right arm and occasional tingling in his index finger after sitting for 20 minutes.
Yossi was there for pain medication or as he said anything to get rid of this pain. He even took the day off from busy tax season to get this resolved. All the while Yossi was talking I was observing his motions and posture and naturally I was evaluating his condition. I listened and asked questions like how do you sit at work? What position? Where is your computer? How high is your chair?
I grabbed my sweater and rolled it up into a cylinder and told Yossi to wedge it under his right lower back and tail bone. As Yossi sat for 3 minutes with my make shift posture corrective wedge he said “My right arm pain is no longer there, it’s a miracle! I just feel neck tightness but that excruciating pain has disappeared” What did you do Yossi exclaimed? Before I could explain to Yossi the nurse called him in and he was no longer slinging his right elbow with his left hand and went in to see the doctor.
It was 4:15 PM, The nurse finally called my father to take his blood pressure when Yossi came out. He said the doctor recommended pills for the neck pain and did an x-ray. The Dr. told Yossi even though the x-ray looked normal he may have a “pinched nerve.” The prescription said Ultram (a strong narcotic) with 2 refills. Yossi whispered that the Dr. never mentioned Physical Therapy evaluation or treatment but he still felt the relief of that new sitting posture I taught him earlier and he personally insisted on another prescription to start physical therapy, so the Dr. agreed and wrote it as a favor.
A HARD PILL TO SWALLOW
Approximately 80% of the world’s pain pills are consumed in the United States, according to 2011 congressional testimony from the American Society of Interventional Pain Physicians. Since 1999, sales of prescription painkillers in the United States have quadrupled. And likewise, the amount of fatal poisonings due to prescription painkillers has gone up. Nearly double the amount of people abuse prescription drugs as the amount who abuse cocaine, heroin, inhalants, and hallucinogens combined, according to the DEA.
An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.
WHY PHYSICAL THERAPY FIRST?
Go to a Dr. of Physical Therapy first. In the military Physical Therapy is the go to person neuromusculoskeletal (nerve muscle fascia) problems. More and more studies are coming out about the cost effectiveness of physical therapy in the last decade. Outcomes with physical therapy treatment continue to be proven effective even years later, because we teach you how to make yourself better in the future. We focus our treatment at a long term preventative model, therefore we are unlike any other profession in our ability to examine and treat problems now, but most importantly educate you of the cause of your pain so that it never returns in the future. Doctors of Physical Therapy Correct Movement Dysfunction and Prevent future recurrence.
ALLCARE PHYSICAL THERAPY we are especially unique because we have a Chronic Pain Management method that is tried and tested and works for the most stubborn pain. Our Mission Statement is “Correct / Maintain / Prevent” So often we hear from patients who have tried every method to get to the root of their pain or injury, from chiropractic and acupuncture to surgery, without results. Physical therapists at AllCare Physical Therapy solve the “unresolved” and get you back on the road to recovery and a full and active life.
Our mission at AllCare Physical Therapy in Brooklyn NY, is to provide state-of-the-art treatments for men and women of all ages. Through our advanced pain relief technology, diagnostic tools, and hands-on, one-on-one care, we offer the highest quality physical therapy services available. And it shows in our patient.s’ success.
Image sources: outofsightinyourmind, healthsciencedegree, promoptboise, and allmedcorp