A Simple Tip For The Opiate Epidemic… [Physical Therapist = Primary Care Provider]

Hey guys, it’s Stephen with CORE Therapy & Pilates… Today I wanted to go over something that I think is very important, something that is dear to my heart.

What I want to talk about is the role of the physical therapist in the medical system. Most people when they hurt their backs or they hurt their shoulder or they have a headache, they go straight to the MD who is considered the primary care physician. However, I feel like for musculoskeletal issues or anything on the outside… that the primary care provider should be the physical therapist, not the MD and I’ll go into more details about that in a moment… The MD should be the primary care physician of the internal body, the organs, the cardiovascular system, the GI tract and so on and so forth. But not for pain, muscle injuries, sports injuries involving the musculoskeletal system, even ankle injuries that could be fractured (thats another blog by itself)… Those should all be seen first by the physical therapist.

When someone has a tooth issue, they go see the dentist.

When someone wants to see a doctor that specializes in the foot, they go to see the podiatrist. (come here, Dudley is about to knock over the camera, hang on buddy you just hang tight with me, don’t knock that camera over)…

When someone has an issue with their eyes they go their optometrist.

What happens when people go see the physician for back pain or neck pain? They typically end up getting provided with opiates and medicine to fight the pain… so that’s my primary reason why I think a physical therapist should be the first and foremost place to start because there will be no drugs provided…

We are in an opiate epidemic here in America and what happens when someone goes to see the doctor, the MD for back pain or shoulder pain and they’re provided with an opiate that is a problem and that is happening at a tremendously high level.

I read an article just last night, I’m from Louisiana, I grew up just outside of New Orleans and I read an article that said that in Louisiana right now out of every 100 residents, there are 98 prescriptions for opiates… chew on that… for every 100 residents in Louisiana there’s 98 prescriptions for opiates… that is crazy! That wasn’t even the highest percentage in the country, they were fifth in the country. There were a few more states that were worse.

If you start with physical therapy, we’re gonna be doing natural things to help you that will not interfere and cause some kind of major problem like with the opiate epidemic that’s going on. So again, the primary care provider for musculoskeletal injuries should be the physical therapist, however it’s not!

This is something that I want to just get out there and change… because what happens a lot of times you go to the MD for back pain and they give you drugs and they send you to the orthopedist. The orthopedist won’t see you until you get an MRI, so it’s gonna take about a month to get the MRI and get in to see the orthopedist. Well in that time, typically the physical therapist can already make tremendous changes and really be helping the person get to their goals of what they really want to do…

That’s my message for today… when your back hurts, go to your physical therapist, your shoulder hurts, when your knee hurts go to your physical therapist… if you see a physical therapist first and you still need to see a doctor, they can send you there. You can always go get injections, you can always go get medications, you can always go get surgery… Later! But if you do it first you might miss the chance to solve the problem conservatively…

Okay that’s my message for today. I hope all is well… we’ll see you around the studio… take care!

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Co-Owner / Physical Therapist at CORE Therapy and Pilates
Stephen graduated with a Masters in Physical Therapy in 1998 from LSUMC in New Orleans and is a licensed physical therapist in Texas since 2004. Immediately interested in hands-on therapy, he began to study with Brian Mulligan and became certified in the Maitland Australian Approach in 2003. Stephen has since studied the fascial system through John F Barnes Myofascial Release. Stephen completed a comprehensive Pilates training in 2002 and the GYROTONIC Expansion System® in 2009. The combined treatment of manual therapy with mind-body awareness exercises using Pilates and Gyrotonic concepts was the start of his whole-body treatment approach.
Stephen Dunn