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Letter: Try physical therapy before using opiates

Try physical therapy before using opiates

Allow me to applaud Erie County Health Commissioner Dr. Gale Burstein for sharing her expertise in the April 11 Another Voice. Hers is an eye-opening, accurate account defending physical therapy and avoiding the use of opiates to treat pain.

A year ago, I realized debilitating pain in my left arm so intense I barely slept. My primary care physician prescribed physical therapy.

At the time I highly doubted this regimen, however, I was simultaneously reluctant to undergo shoulder surgery, because I’ve learned from other shoulder injury sufferers it may prove useless.

The therapy group I attended adhered to the “movement” science described by Burstein: “Movement has been shown to speed recovery and relieve pain.”

Through specific exercises, stretching, heat and ice, movement in my arm dramatically improved. Pain diminished gradually, then after six months it was no longer a steady companion.

My doctor proved a hero. My therapist, using additional tools such as kinesio tape and ultrasound, became sainted by me for having to work with a stubborn creature such as myself.

Every day I live with some discomfort relative to my injury, but I remain a hopeful human. On my final session I even came to grips with my malady and remarked, “sometimes suffering is a gift.” There is no perfect world, I’ve found. The use of opiates don’t provide one, as we can see.

Janice Schlau