According to the American Society of Addiction Medicine, drug overdose is the leading cause of accidental death in the United States. In 2016 alone, over 20,000 overdose deaths were related to prescription pain relievers. Undoubtedly, it’s a complex issue. But it stands to reason that chronic pain and fatigue — both physical and mental — are at the root of the problem.
A key benefit of hydrotherapy is the fact that it is “non-pharmacologic.” In other words, it does not rely on pain medication to benefit you. Of course, you should always consult a healthcare provider when considering prescription medication, especially when dependence on pain pills or other methods of relief are involved. That said, research suggests that non-narcotic treatment methods are to be preferred, or may be complementary when prescription drugs are medically necessary.
For example, in 2016 the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention published 12 guidelines for pain management professionals. The first guideline stated, “Non-pharmacologic therapy and non-opioid pharmacologic therapy are preferred for chronic pain.” And, “If opioids are used, they should be combined with non-pharmacologic therapy… as appropriate.” Obviously, hydrotherapy is just one of various treatment options. Nonetheless, it may be a preferable or complimentary treatment strategy — especially when used to facilitate exercise.
In an article entitled, “Non-pharmacologic Management of Pain,” The Journal of the American Osteopathic Association stated, “Superficial heat… has been found to be helpful in diminishing pain and decreasing local muscle spasm” and “should be used… to facilitate an active exercise program.” Hydrotherapy can make exercise less painful. And by combining warm water therapy with exercise, it may make it easier for you to continue exercising longer term. It’s vital to keep your body moving and hydrotherapy can help.
So whether you are addressing prescription drug use or simply trying to maintain an active exercise program, hydrotherapy may be just what you need. It’s intended to promote healthy living and create a place for social engagement. It has the potential to enhance your quality of life for years to come.