The Aging Population: Choosing Physical Therapy over Medication


The life expectancy for citizens of first world countries has been rising steadily for years. People can now easily overcome illnesses and injuries that, in the past, would have been a death sentence. Along with the lengthened lifespan, comes a responsibility to take care of our seniors.

It is no secret that as a person ages, their quality of life decreases little by little. This isn’t stating that our nation’s seniors don’t enjoy life, but that everyday they wake up with new aches and pains, or they walk a little slower, or forget another name.

Whether someone is suffering from Osteoarthritis, Alzheimer’s disease, or just the wear and tear of old age, our first response to their pain is medication. Sadly, these medications just temporarily numb the pain, and don’t actually make it go away. Which of course, then leads to more medication.

The initial thought of prescribing elderly citizens painkillers, is that you’re simply helping them feel comfortable, but in reality, you may be hurting them. The most common painkillers prescribed to seniors are opioids, which can be addictive. Unlikely addicts, seniors grow toxically high tolerances to these medications, causing a slew of issues in old age, or even death. Narcotic use among elderly citizens is actually becoming an epidemic.

The most shocking part of this entire epidemic is that physical therapy can provide the same relief painkillers are providing, only therapy can keep the pain from ever coming back.

Opioid Pain Killers in Seniors

  • Cause them to become lethargic, or not “all there”
  • Increase risk of heart attacks, strokes, and cardiac death
  • Death of any cause is 87% more likely
  • Possibility of addiction
  • More likely to suffer from bone fractures
    and the list goes on.

Physical therapy provides a much safer, and often times more permanent, fix to many health problems people encounter in their old age. Therapy can help people recover from a series of conditions by simple exercises like stretching, walking, massages, water therapy and more.

Therapy can help people recover from conditions like:

  • Stroke
  • Broken Bones
  • Alzheimer’s disease
  • Parkinson’s disease
  • Vertigo
  • Osteoarthritis
    and many other conditions.

Physical therapy can combat all of the pain caused by these conditions without the health risks that come with taking opioid medications. It is likely that visits to the physical therapist are even covered under insurance. These improvements are often long lasting and can truly improve quality of life.

This is not meant to go against the opinion of a qualified physician, and there are plenty of conditions that do require strong pain prescriptions. Although, choosing to partake in therapy over taking medication is something that should be considered in certain situations, and can keep our older generations healthier and happier in there golden years.

Author: Allied Travel Careers

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