Categories: Addiction

Is Physical Therapy the Key to Ending Opioid Dependence?

Addiction is an interesting condition in some ways. This is largely because each case is unique in many different ways, which means that there is no uniform or standard treatment for it. Sure, some therapies and methods tend to have higher success rates than others, but there is no sole form of treatment that is best for every person. Because of this, many different types of addiction treatment have been created over the years in attempts to find a better or more successful form, as well as treat those that may not respond to other forms of treatment. But, it has also led to other types of already existing methods being applied unconventionally to addiction treatment. In some cases, the results can tend to be a bit lackluster, but in other cases, they can be quite beneficial. One method that has been applied more recently in the realm of addiction treatment is physical therapy. In fact, many addiction specialists feel that this may be the key to ending opioid dependence.

Ending Opioid Dependence with the Help of Physical Therapy

Sure, it may sound a bit odd to apply physical therapy in efforts of ending opioid dependence, but let’s take a look at some factors here. First off, the damage that addiction can do to an individual’s body can be quite widespread, especially with substances like opioids. The frequent introduction of opioids can begin to cause organ damage and less than ideal functioning in various areas of the body. Of course, physical therapy may not be able to address organ damage, but it can help in other sectors. Opioid dependence can lead to the body regressing in many ways. The person can begin to feel sluggish, lethargic, and their coordination may be decreased. A body in this type of condition can contribute to a vicious circle. They are having issues and feeling terrible as a result of their use, and yet they may continue to use as a way to feel somewhat better. So, to some degree, could helping to restore their body to a better state decrease their chances of falling back into opioids? Well, it sure can’t hurt and has shown to be quite beneficial.

Handling Opioid Dependence

When an addict begins their path to recovery, it will traditionally involve detoxification to manage their opioid dependence. This can be a challenging period, as opioid dependence can bring numerous accompanying withdrawal symptoms as they are detoxing. During this time, they are likely going to be struggling through various pains and ailments. This is where they may first begin to realize the extent that opioids have affected their body indeed, and even more so when they have finished detox and still find themselves in a pretty frail state.

How Physical Therapy Can Help

Upon completing detox and realizing the state of their body, this is where they could begin physical therapy in conjunction with any other treatment necessary. This way, they can start to build their muscles and physical health back up. Physical therapy and exercise, of course, benefit the individual physically, but it can benefit them mentally as well. First off, physical activity like this produces endorphins, which provide active biochemical stimulation. Also, when they begin to get their strength and health more into order, they will start to feel better about themselves, and this can likely improve their mental state. After all, we all feel brighter when we are in better health and feel miserable when we are sick. Plus, exercise, in general, has shown to significantly improve one’s overall mental state and happiness. If we continue to see these kinds of benefits, physical therapy very well may become a more prominently used coinciding treatment for addiction. 

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