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  • APTA Launches #ChoosePT Campaign to Battle Opioid Epidemic



    One thing you can say about the opioid abuse epidemic: it doesn't discriminate. The destructive power of the drugs, often first prescribed to treat pain, has been felt from rural to urban areas, across all social and economic classes, and from factory workers to one-of-a-kind music icons.

    Already active in the battle against prescription opioid abuse and heroin use, APTA is now taking its efforts to the next level: a national campaign urging the public to consider physical therapy as a safe and effective alternative for the treatment of pain.

    This week, APTA unveiled a broad public relations effort to educate consumers about the opioid epidemic and urge them to choose physical therapy (#ChoosePT) to manage pain without the risks of opioids. Housed at MoveForwardPT.com/ChoosePT, the campaign will unfold throughout 2016 and include national online advertising, TV and radio public service announcements, and other targeted advertising and media outreach.

    APTA also will collaborate with chapters nationwide, beginning outreach with states identified by the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) as having either the highest numbers of drug overdose deaths or the highest opioid prescription rates in recent years—Tennessee, Alabama, West Virginia, Oklahoma, New Mexico, New Hampshire, Kentucky, Ohio, Mississippi, and Rhode Island.

    “Opioids come with numerous serious side effects and only mask the sensation of pain,” stated #ChoosePT campaign spokesperson Joseph Brence, PT, DPT, in an APTA news release. “Research shows that physical therapist treatment can reduce or eliminate the need for opioids by improving physical function, increasing range of motion, and decreasing pain."

    APTA President Sharon L. Dunn, PT, DPT, OCS, announced the launch of the campaign during her address to the APTA House of Delegates on June 6, describing the current situation as "a crucial window of opportunity for our profession – a chance to step forward and assume the massive responsibility of treating the millions of Americans in pain without the real dangers of prescription opioids, and a chance to let the public know that when it comes to treatment for pain, they do have a choice, and that choice can be physical therapy."

    The #ChoosePT campaign website includes facts about pain and the opioid epidemic, tips for avoiding chronic pain, and a toolkit where supporters can download graphics and other materials to extend the campaign’s reach. Those looking to support the campaign on social media or learn more should use the #ChoosePT hashtag and follow @MoveForwardPT on Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest. For more information, contact APTA's Public Relations Department.

    Monday, APTA's #ChoosePT campaign was featured on a billboard in Times Square.


    • This is why I am a student PTA. I saw, first hand, the benefits of physical therapy as an alternative to taking pain medication, and also saw that it worked! Having had family members addicted to pain killers, I chose to go another route. That is why I am excited to be an advocate for this camaign.

      Posted by Jerri on 6/8/2016 2:25 PM

    • Physical Therapists are experts in body mechanics, posture, strengthening, flexibility, and education of how to manage pain symptoms. In years past, physicians dictated to Physical Therapist passive modalities as the plan of care. With the advancement of education to a Doctoral degree and increased autonomy of practice the Physical Therapists are able to provide active tools that have been researched and proven to be more effective than passive tools for chronic conditions. Physical Therapists are best suited to teach clients how to move without fear or pain and a alternative choice to taking medication for treatment of chronic pain conditions.

      Posted by Michelle Zenda on 6/8/2016 4:05 PM

    • We need to do better to be effective! To help treat and help prevent chronic pain, we need to put our hands on patients to decrease joint and soft tissue restrictions to allow patients to achieve a higher level of exercise than what their daily lives require. We need to do more than just exercise, such as education in proper body mechanics, pacing and self treatment. We need to do better!!

      Posted by Mary Fridlund -> ?FQbC on 6/9/2016 7:20 PM

    • Mary we do need to do better to be effective. However our profession is highly threatened by inurance companies that will only pay for 30 minutes of PT, or those that barely pay us enough to cover costs. I agree we need to do hands on work but this takes time. That is why most of the best PT's are moving into a cash pay system. We cannot stay autonomous without also addressing the reimbursement issues that plague our profession.

      Posted by Cheryl Hanks on 6/11/2016 5:18 PM

    • The push for PT is logical until economics enter the picture.... In NY State: One copay for pain meds $10-$20 Copay for 6 PT visits $180-$240

      Posted by Thomas Houghtalen, PT, MTC, DPT on 8/30/2016 11:15 AM

    • Thomas Houghtalen, PT, MTC, DPT made an excellent point. We need dramatic changes in our healthcare system. many patients cannot afford the right treatment so they tend to gravitate to what his economically affordable to them. Cheryl Hanks however needs to remember the hypocritical oath and treat patient the right way no matter how much time it takes Many PT's are doing the right thing, treating patients the right way

      Posted by zara on 9/9/2016 5:13 PM

    • This is great campaign for promoting PT! BUT!!!!!! Why just recently???? PTs/PTAs has been around for years and the APTA has been around for years as well and yet most of my patients still don't know what do we do. WHY???

      Posted by Wanteria on 1/22/2017 1:13 PM

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