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  • Orthopedic Surgeons Promote Conservative Approaches to Pain Treatment in New Opioid Awareness Campaign

    The American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons (AAOS) is joining the fight against opioid abuse with a new public service campaign promoting conservative approaches—including exercise and physical therapy—as safe alternatives to painkillers.

    The AAOS print campaign uses the message "Painkillers are easy to get into, hard to escape," accompanied by an image of a person seemingly trapped inside a prescription container. According to AAOS, the ad has been distributed across the country.

    In addition to the print efforts, AAOS also created 30- and 60-second radio ads, produced in partnership with the Orthopaedic Trauma Association, that dramatize a conversation between a physician and patient requesting more painkillers to help with recovery after knee surgery.

    "We're being very careful with those now," the doctor tells the patient. "Prescription painkillers are opioids, same as heroin—it's easy to start taking them, not so easy to stop." Instead, the doctor says, "let's try these anti-inflammatories, plus your physical therapy."

    "When used as recommended, prescription painkillers can alleviate severe pain, especially during the hours and days immediately following an injury or major surgery," AAOS states on the campaign webpage. "However, opioids are not a long-term pain solution and, when misused, can lead to addiction and even death."

    The AAOS message is consistent with APTA's #ChoosePT campaign launched in 2016, which promotes physical therapy as a safe and effective alternative to the use of opioids in the treatment of pain. Housed at MoveForwardPT.com/ChoosePT, the #ChoosePT campaign includes national online advertising, TV and radio public service announcements, and other targeted advertising and media outreach. Both AAOS and APTA encourage patients to have conversations with their doctors about how to manage their pain, and the #ChoosePT website includes a downloadable pain profile to help facilitate that conversation.

    "Patient education is crucial to combating this epidemic, and I commend AAOS for a bold campaign that clearly underlines the risks of opioids and encourages conservative alternatives for long-term pain management," said APTA President Sharon L. Dunn, PT, PhD. "All health care providers must continue to work together to end this national crisis."


    • Orthopedic surgeons advocate for whatever is convenient for them whenever it's convenient for them. Physical therapy isn't part of some physicians treatment program. It's a profession that no physician has any real training or understanding of. It's not something people get or do and it's not part of a mathematical equation where this plus that equals good outcome. Physician control of all aspects of healthcare is the problem, opioid overuse and danger is just a small example of what the result is.

      Posted by Burton Ford on 5/5/2017 9:08 PM

    • Patient's are often being dc'd to home day of surgery, still affected by anesthesia, unable to take in dr orders OR pain management with prescription for a narcotic. When they get home pain in usually increased, pt's get scared and caregivers do not know what to do. I believe the system breaks the minute the pt. leaves the hospital.

      Posted by Linda Taricano on 5/8/2017 9:00 AM

    • As someone who has seen opiate addiction first hand, this is good news. I think they can be too easy to access at times. I like that there is more awareness on how dangerous and addictive these pills are.

      Posted by Kenneth Gladman on 6/1/2017 3:34 PM

    • I'm trying to get my leg pain taken care of. It makes sense that I would want to try a more conservative approach! That way I don't need to worry about opioids or anything, since those are very addictive. I'll look for a professional that can help without drugs.

      Posted by Braden Bills on 9/22/2017 10:09 AM

    • I like the fact that doctors are promoting a more conservative approach when treating opioid abuse such as exercise and physical therapy. It would definitely prevent people from getting too dependent on the use of painkillers. Plus, regular exercise promotes living a healthy lifestyle. If I were a physician, I would also recommend this type of approach to my patients. Thanks.

      Posted by Bobby Saint on 11/3/2017 12:09 AM

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