An article in last week’s Alliston Herald was of particular interest to me. The article reports that opioid abuse in Simcoe County is quite high. In fact, the Simcoe Muskoka Disrict Health Unit reports 30% more emergency room visits due to opioid use than the rest of the province. The article discusses changes to oxycodone to reduce abuse, and the recent surge in fentanyl abuse. It appears that a majority of teenagers obtain their drugs from home, stealing the drugs from someone who was prescribed them.


Opioids are a class of drugs that are commonly used to treat pain. Opioid-based medications attach themselves to opioid receptors in the brain, spinal cord, and other areas of the body, reducing the pain signals and the sensation of pain. Common forms of opioids include morphine, dilaudid, codeine, methadone, fentanyl, and oxycodone. These drugs are also often highly addictive and can be abused for their ability to produce euphoria and a “mellow high”.


In my practice I see many people prescribed opioid-based drugs. The majority of patients taking these drugs are people with severe chronic pain perhaps after a significant motor vehicle accident for instance. Most of these people would prefer not to be on medication, but require the pain relief that they offer in order to function on a day-to-day basis. Although in cases such as these, strong medications may be necessary, there are also cases where they appear to be over-prescribed and/or abused. Patients need to be educated on the adverse and side effects of the medications they are on, as well as explore alternative non-pharmaceutical options. Physiotherapy offers a drug-free option for pain relief, and can often be effective in reducing or eliminating medication use.


If you are currently on opioid medications or just need to find relief from your pain, come and see one of our superiorly trained physiotherapists. With techniques such as manual therapy, acupuncture, and IMS all being effective options to reduce pain, you may not require the pharmaceutical cocktail you are on!

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