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September is Pain Awareness Month

Written By Coastal Integrative Health on September 22, 2016

September is Pain Awareness Month


Introduction: An American Health Crisis

Over the past 15 years, increasing numbers of Americans have been prescribed opioids for pain management. Sales of prescription opioids have quadrupled since 1999. So have deaths related to prescription opioids. So have heroin-related deaths.  The APTA's #ChoosePT campaign raises awareness about the dangers of prescription opioids and encourages consumers and prescribers to choose safer alternatives like physical therapy, consistent with Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) guidelines released in March 2016 urging nondrug treatment for most chronic pain conditions.

The resources provided in this toolkit allow you to extend the reach and impact of the #ChoosePT campaign in a variety of ways, ranging from free social media engagement to paid advertising.

Questions? If you have questions about how to support the campaign or use these tools, contact APTA's Public Relations department.

Key Messages

  • The increase in prescription opioid use is unmistakable.
    According to the CDC, in 2012 health care providers wrote 259 million prescriptions for opioid pain medication, enough for every American adult to have their own bottle of pills.
  • The risk for misusing prescription opioids is real.
    According to the CDC, every day, over 1,000 people are treated in emergency departments for misusing prescription opioids.
  • The risk for addiction is real.
    According to the CDC, as many as 1 in 4 people who receive prescription opioids long-term for non-cancer pain in primary care settings struggles with addiction.
  • The risk for heroin use is real.
    According to the CDC, among new heroin users, about 3 out of 4 report abusing prescription opioids before using heroin.
  • Physical therapy is a safe and effective alternative to opioids for long-term pain management.
    In March 2016, the CDC released guidelines urging non-opioid approaches for the management of chronic pain.
  • There are some situations in which opioid therapy is appropriate.
    The CDC guidelines indicate that opioids may be appropriates for situations including cancer treatment, palliative care, end-of-life care, and certain acute care situations. Still, the CDC guidelines also suggest pairing opioid therapy with non-opioid therapy, and their prescriber checklist recommends trying non-opioid therapy first.
  • Patients have a choice about the kind of treatment they receive.
    Before accepting a prescription for opioids, patients should talk to their health care providers about related risks and safer alternatives.

Tip: You can download many of the above statistics from


Information and photos derived from Move Forward and the APTA.

The post September is Pain Awareness Month appeared first on Coastal Integrative Health.

Posted In: Chronic Pain Chronic Pain Pain pills Pain pills Physical Therapy Physical Therapy Exercise opiods