Physical Therapists Can Help America Get Back to Work

The increasing use of opioids in America and the problems resulting from it have been well documented by the media. Most stories have focused on the increased number of deaths and injuries from overdoses. Many more problems related to this epidemic exist but receive less coverage. A new study by Alan Krueger, who was chief economist at the Treasury Department in the Obama administration, exposes one of these additional problems – decreased labor force participation.

His study says that opioid use may explain one-fifth of the decline in participation in the labor force by men of prime working age.

Addressing the growing opioid problem has become a national priority, with multiple government agencies, and medical industry groups involved. In May, the FDA Commissioner asked for “more forceful steps” to help solve this problem.

New guidelines released by the CDC in March of 2016 recommend avoiding use of opioids in most cases, and turning to treatments like physical therapy instead. Guidelines from the American College of Physicians echo the same message.

Physical therapists focus on reducing pain, and improving the ability to move and function. Their unique set of skills and areas of focus make them an obvious choice to help reduce opioid use and return Americans to work.