Physiotherapy could help combat B.C.’s opioid crisis: report

A provincial association says physio is a non-pharmaceutical adjunct to prescribed opioids

The Physiotherapy Association of BC says it could be an integral piece of the puzzle in combatting the province’s opioid crisis.

In a report released Tuesday, the association says that for patients who suffer from chronic or acute pain, physiotherapy could be a suitable treatment alternative for management instead of turning to opioid prescriptions.

“At a time when British Columbians are searching for answers to the province’s drug opioid crisis, physio can help,” the report reads.

According to the association, one in five adult Canadians suffer from chronic pain – a ‘multifaceted disorder associated with considerable disability’, and can be a burden to the patient and the health care system.

The report says a 2014 study shows that about 5 per cent of adults who have been prescribed an opioid pain reliever has misused or abused their medication.

In recent months, advocates and policy makers have noted the apparent role prescriptions of opioids play into addiction and the 931 overdose deaths that occurred in 2016 – a steady trend continuing this year.

In an email to Black Press, provincial health officer Dr. Perry Kendall said, “physio certainly has riles to play in pain management and lowering the need for opioids.”

RELATED: B.C. health officer leads push for European-style heroin treatment programs

Kendall has vocalized the need for alternative treatments for opioid addiction in the past, including prescription heroin.

The association also argues physiotherapy is a more cost-effective strategy for the the province.

Heading into the May 9 election, the association says policy makers should consider the benefit physiotherapists could have in combatting the increase in prescription drug abuse, rising overdoses and the increase costs of prescription drugs.


@ashwadhwani
ashley.wadhwani@bpdigital.ca

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