Do Americans prefer physical therapy before painkillers? New dry needling approach now available at VMH

Dry needling an option for pain management ... When it comes to pain management, most Americans would rather use a drug-free approach. They also choose physical therapy as the safest option in treating pain. Pictured above is Amy Robinson, Physical Therapist and Director of Rehabilitation at Veterans Memorial Hospital, demonstrating dry needling treament on a patient. This is a new pain management procedure, similar to acupuncture, and treats painful muscle regions quite effectively. Submitted photo.

Those who would try just about anything before taking prescription opioids to treat their physical pain are not alone. According to a new report, most Americans would rather use a drug-free approach.

Earlier this year, data was collected from nearly 63,000 American adults. Of note, 78% prefer to find another option to treat pain rather than taking medication prescribed by their doctors. The use of narcotics is now being viewed as a “crisis” or a very serious problem, and most people do not want to get caught up in it.

This study could mean that in the future, patients and health-care professionals alike will try drug-free treatment options before relying on opioids. Instead of using pain medications, those surveyed in this recent study chose physical therapy as the safest option in treating pain. 

“Physical therapy is becoming very integrative” says Amy Robinson, PT, Director of Rehabilitation at Veterans Memorial Hospital.  “We deal with the physical, psychological and emotional aspects of injury and pain.  Not only do we as therapists treat the pain and work to improve our patient’s function, we listen to how the injury has affected the patient’s life. Some patients become depressed and saddened by how they can’t enjoy life when the pain is so intense.  We talk to them about their pain and help them manage it on a day-to-day basis.  Every patient is different, so we individualize the treatment plan based on each patient’s needs.”

Veterans Memorial Hospital Rehab Staff is now offering an additional pain-relieving modality called dry needling. Dry needling is similar to acupuncture, but it treats painful muscle regions and has been quite effective.  Physical therapists in the state of Iowa are licensed to perform all dry needling services, and Veterans Memorial Hospital Staff just began using this treatment in early November.

For more information on utilizing physical therapy for pain management, or for more information on the new dry needling services offered at Veterans Memorial Hospital, call 563-568-3411.

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