How are you honoring Pain Awareness Month in September? As physical therapists, we can help make an impact on reducing the country’s opioid crisis by helping patients manage their pain in other ways. Consider the following three methods I detail below.

#1 – Prescribe regular exercise

A Nord-Trondelag Health Study of 20,000 people over the course of 11 years found that those who exercised regularly experienced less pain. Those who exercised more than three times per week also were 28% less likely to experience chronic widespread physical discomfort.

As physical therapists, we can prescribe exercise specific to individual goals and needs to encourage our patients to move more.

#2 – Educate patients about pain management

A large study conducted with military personnel demonstrated that those with back pain who received a 45-minute educational session about pain were less likely to seek treatment than peers who didn’t receive any education.

As physical therapists, we have the opportunity to talk with our patients to ensure we understand their history, and can help set realistic treatment expectations.

#3 – Collaborate with patients on treatment

We have the opportunity to develop positive relationships with our patients as well as be active participants in their recovery and, eventually, their success.

We can do this by working with our patients and testing various methods for how they respond to different treatments.

Since 2001, the American Chronic Pain Association has been working to help raise awareness and understanding of pain and pain management. Since that time their outreach has grown in scope involving a wide range of health professionals.

The association offers information and resources concerning the various aspects of discomfort that you may find useful as you consider treatment options for your patients.

Help honor this special month by taking the time to discover more about this topic.

Watch this continuing education webinar to learn how Effective Pain Management Is More Than Just a Number.