Patients should be aware that these medications are not the only option to treat back pain.
Austin, TX (Vocus) October 19, 2010
The New York Times recently reports an alarming increase in methadone prescriptions for the treatment of long term back pain, resulting in a shocking increase in methadone related deaths. The amount of money spent on prescriptions for back pain has risen as well, but patient outcomes are not any better. The spine experts at Texas Physical Therapy Specialists can reduce or eliminate back pain without the use of dangerous and costly prescriptions.
Methadone was once only used to treat patients with drug addictions. Today it is often given out by doctors for the treatment of back and joint pain. The Drug Enforcement Administration reports that from 1998 to 2006, the number of methadone prescriptions increased by 700%. ‘Many legitimate patients, following the direction of their doctor, have run into trouble with methadone, including death,’ said pain specialist Dr. Howard A. Heit from Georgetown University. Florida alone listed methadone as a cause in 785 deaths in 2007, up from 367 deaths in 2003.
‘These are senseless deaths,’ Dr. Robert Wainner, a physical therapy professor at Texas State University , leading musculoskeletal researcher, and therapist/owner at Texas Physical Therapy Specialists said. “Patients should be aware that these medications are not the only option to treat back pain.” Research has shown that early treatments with exercise and hands-on physical therapy can reduce or eliminate back pain. “Prescription drugs are often used without considering safe and effective alternatives. Physical therapy is the best first choice for patients with back pain,” Dr. Wainner added.
The Journal of the American Medical Association reports that from 1997 to 2005, prescriptions for back pain increased by 171%. At the same time, the rate of good patient outcomes fell. ‘All the imaging we do, all the drug treatments, all the injections, all the operations have some benefit for some patients,’ said Richard A. Deyo, MD, a physician at Oregon Health & Science University in Portland and a coauthor of the report. ‘But I think in each of those situations we've begun using those tests or treatments more widely than science would really support.’
“The reality is that very few treatments have been shown to help patients with back conditions. Physical therapists use hands-on care and therapeutic exercises to effectively reduce back pain,” explains Dr. Wainner.
For more information about how physical therapy at Texas Physical Therapy Specialists can help get rid of pain, reduce the use of prescription drugs and expensive testing, and prevent painful and costly surgery, visit texpts.com.
About Texas Physical Therapy Specialists:
Texas Physical Therapy Specialists (TexPTS) is a private physical therapy practice with locations throughout San Antonio, Austin, and Tyler. Known for teaching and training physical therapists all over the U.S., TexPTS physical therapists pride themselves in being spine experts. They deliver hands-on physical therapy based on the newest research to achieve the best results for patients with bad backs, achy joints, wounded hands, and work injuries. Along the way, the TexPTS family has fun and makes friends with their patients (and their pets, their kids, their in-laws, and neighbors….). Perhaps this is why they were voted the Best Private Physical Therapy Practice in the U.S. in 2009 by their peers in the American Physical Therapy Association. For more information visit TexPTS.com or find TexPTS on Facebook.