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Can exercise help curb opioid crisis?

Can exercise help curb opioid crisis?

Prescription opioid medicines are used to treat severe pain due to surgeries, serious sports injuries, or cancer. Such pains may persist for a long period and cause discomfort, thereby depreciating the life’s quality. Therefore, doctors frequently prescribe opioid painkillers to their patients in order to provide them with instant relief. However, the tendency has emerged as one of the significant contributors to the opioid crisis in the United States.

Experts believe that replacing the culture of popping pills with alternative methods can help curb the opioid epidemic. They suggest physical activity as an effective alternative to get long-lasting relief from non-cancer pain. According to them, exercising regularly is not only beneficial for physical health but also has psychological effects that further helps in experiencing relief from the pain. A research also indicates that regular exercising can increase acceptance of pain and resiliency, thereby reducing the dependency on opioids.

Effects of exercise on pain

Some pains cause lifelong discomfort and can occur due to underlying chronic diseases like arthritis, an injury or a hypersensitive nervous system, or for an unknown reason. Therefore, while exercises such as walking, running, or general workout of moderate to vigorous intensity for 150 minutes every week can help in alleviating the pain, people may also be recommended some specific physical activities depending on an affected part of the body.

As per studies, exercise helps reduce the intensity of pain, fatigue, depression, and anxiety, which are significant triggers to opioid addiction. Regular exercise makes the individual active and non-dependent on drugs. Below are a few exercises that can help people suffering from non-cancer chronic pain get relief:

  • Stretching: It is good for those having chronic pain in low back or neck. It should be done slowly and gradually by keeping the body at ease. Many may find it difficult to stretch because of the pain. However, continuous efforts will eventually loosen the muscles and improve the motion, thereby making the body flexible.
  • Strengthening exercises: Workouts such as squats, wall pushups or bicep curls not only help in gaining physical strength but also aids in beating the lingering pain. However, one should not stress too much about performing the exercise accurately with intensity from the first trial.
  • Cardiovascular exercises: Exercises like walking, swimming or bike riding have many healing effects. They primarily work to strengthen the heart that further ensures proper functioning of other parts of the body, and helps develop resilience against pain.

Seeking treatment for drug addiction

It’s shocking that pain affects more people in the U.S. than heart disease, diabetes, and cancer combined. According to the American Academy of Pain Management (AAPM), 100 million people suffer from some kind of pain in the country. Besides, 42 million adult Americans complain that pain or physical discomfort upsets their sleep a few nights in a week. Such a condition has resulted in sharp rise in the use of opioid medications across the country, leading to the crisis.

Exercising regularly may reduce the amount of opioid consumption in the country, but it cannot treat those already in the grip of addiction to prescription painkillers. If you or your loved one is grappling with an opioid addiction, it is important to seek immediate medical help. You can contact the Texas Drug Addiction Treatment helpline to know about the state-of-the-art drug addiction treatment centers in Texas. Call at our 24/7 helpline number (855) 980-5757 or chat online with our expert to enquire about the best drug addiction treatment facility available near you.

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