So this is one of my fears. Having dealt with chronic knee problems for most of my life, I am reluctant to take painkillers, particularly opioids like Vicodin or Oxycodone, as I know they are addictive. Given the number of addicts in my family (even when they are more prone to alcohol than anything else), I’ve been a bit paranoid about taking anything that could lead me down that path.
This is why I have always chosen to do physical therapy first, or at least adjacent to, taking painkillers. PT is the long-term solution, trying to fix the cause of the pain, rather than the symptom. If you are dealing with chronic pain, it’s best to at least try physical therapy for relief. Your stomach, kidneys and liver will thank you later.
If you’re in pain, try physical therapy before relying on painkillers
with advice from Michael Weinper, PT, DPT, MPH
You are on your way home from working out at the gym or playing a game of softball. You press on the brake to slow down at a stoplight, and pain sears through your knee. It’s not the first time this has happened, so you decide to talk to your doctor. Do you ask for painkillers, or do you talk to your physician about seeing a physical therapist?
There’s no question that pain hurts, says Michael Weinper, a physical therapist and the owner of PTPN and Progressive Physical Therapy, a private physical therapy practice. It’s how you respond to the pain that will affect your health in the long run.
If you merely rely on painkillers to treat pain, particularly opioid painkillers, you could be setting yourself up for long-term problems like depression and addiction without ever treating the cause of the problem.