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Are you suffering from neck, shoulder and back pain? If yes, visiting a physical therapist early can reduce the consumption of opioids that can lead to their abuse as well as other health complications, suggests a study.

According to a new study by researchers at the Stanford University School of Medicine and the Duke University School of Medicine, Patients who underwent physical therapy soon after being diagnosed with pain in the shoulder, neck, low back or knee were approximately 7 to 16 percent less likely to use opioids in the subsequent months.

Patients who use opioids for back, shoulder and neck pain, early physical therapy was associated with a 5 to 10 percent reduction in how much of the drug they used, the study found.

“This is not a world where there are magic bullets. But many guidelines suggest that physical therapy is an important component of pain management, and there is little downside to trying it,” said Eric Sun, Assistant Professor at the varsity.

“What our study found was that if you can get these patients on physical therapy reasonably quickly, that reduces the probability that they will be using opioids in the longer term,” said Sun.

For the study, researchers included 88,985 patients.

Findings, published in the JAMA Network Open, showed that if a patient sought out physical therapy within the first 90 days of their diagnosis, he or she, on average, were less likely to fill an opioid prescription three months to a year after being diagnosed.

The results could be helpful to clinicians in search of pain-management options that carry fewer health risks than opioids, reduces pain and improves function for some musculoskeletal conditions, Sun noted.

(Source – IANS)

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