In Wake of Opioid Epidemic, Health Organizations Look to Massage to Manage Pain

While opioids are prescription drugs meant to be used for the treatment of severe or chronic pain, all indications are now proving they are also highly addictive for some users.

Opioid abuse is on the rise. Among teens, opioids are being abused along with alcohol and marijuana. Studies now show that opioid abuse leads to heroin addiction, with possibly as many as three-fourths of heroin addicts tracing their abuse to prescription opioid addiction. 

OxyContin. Percocet. Vicodin. Fentanyl. These drugs and others are being prescribed by doctors for conditions including sports injuries, post surgical pain, and cancer treatment. But there is now cause for medical professionals to seriously consider their possible side effects before writing those prescriptions, and consider the healing attributes of massage instead.

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“Prescription opioids can be used to treat moderate-to-severe pain and are often prescribed following surgery or injury, or for health conditions such as cancer. Opioids carry serious risk of addiction, abuse, and overdose, in addition to a number of side effects, even when taken as directed.  According to the Centers for Disease Control, deaths from prescription opioids—drugs like oxycodone, hydrocodone, and methadone—have more than quadrupled since 1999.  

For that reason, a number of health organizations are seriously looking at alternative ways to manage pain.

In the past year, the American Massage Therapy Association (AMTA) has been actively engaged with several organizations and agencies regarding massage therapy for pain and specifically as an alternative to opioids.”


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