Fort Worth Woman Uses Physical Therapy in Place of Opioids - NBC 5 Dallas-Fort Worth

Fort Worth Woman Uses Physical Therapy in Place of Opioids



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    Recovering from surgery or an injury is no doubt painful, but there's an increase in alternatives to powerful narcotics, and one of those alternatives got one Fort Worth woman back on her feet.

    When Penny Roberts goes to the gym, she doesn't go to burn calories or lose weight. Rather, she goes to ensure a life free of powerful pain medications.

    "When I started doing stretches and things like that, then I started to see less pain, more progress," Roberts said.

    After a Tae Kwon Do injury, followed by two knee replacements, doctors prescribed her opioids to help with the pain.

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    "I couldn't do the things at home that my physical therapist was telling me to do because I was sleeping all the time, so it wasn't good for me," she said.

    So she decided to skip the medicine all together and come to SporTherapy in Fort Worth.

    The team focuses initially on alleviating pain, using methods like dry needling, virtual reality and joint manipulation. Then, they build a patient's strength through targeted physical therapy.

    "It's impossible to get completely better when we are just in constant pain, so we work to reduce pain initially. Then we can strengthen and then get movement back," Alex Gustaf, PT, DPT said.

    The idea falls in line with national campaigns highlighting physical therapy over pills in direct response to the national opioid epidemic.

    The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends physical therapy as a non-drug alternative to managing chronic pain over the use of addictive prescription painkillers.

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    Roberts said it's proof it works. 

    "If you do all your physical therapy like you're supposed to, you are going to have no pain at the end of the journey," she said.

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