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PTA Blog Talk

Controversial Pain Therapies

Published November 4, 2009 2:39 PM by Jason Marketti
The debate continues for America on whether to legalize this.  Pros and cons have been heard on both sides and still it is unsolved for the majority of us.

Let's take a look at other "controversial" pain therapies.  

Craniosacral Therapy (CST). Some have said has little scientific support, yet physical therapists continue to use this treatment. It has also been listed as an alternative medicine therapy in some of the literature. 

Modalities.  There are physical therapists and PTAs that fully support the use of every modality available and will seldom question the use of them.  But I have come across therapists who refuse to use them (except heat or ice) and apply a "hands-on" approach only with their patients. Who is right?

Chiropractors.  Some love them and some dislike their theories, but they do not seem to have difficulty finding patients that willingly go for pain relief. 

Is medicinal marijuana any more dangerous than Vicodin, methadone, cigarettes (how many therapists smoke) or even alcohol (how many therapists drink)? Or better yet, is using medicinal marijuana any more dangerous than using therapy techniques that are questionable in literature and practice?

A better debate might focus on whether the risks outweigh the benefits for any treatment that will relieve pain. 


I agree with Karen that pain relief comes in many forms, and to say this one is right and that one is wrong is really an injustice to the patient. Everyone responds to treatment differently and there is no majic "pill" that will fix it for everyone.

Then there's the issue of legalized marijuana, that's a whole can of worms in and of itself. Legalizing it would definately deminish Kentucky's second cash crop. But that's not a bad thing...some people respond to the chemicals in that when nothing else works.

Homeopathic treatments again are not a bad thing, these items were created with a purpose and may infact be the best fix for someone else's pain or medical condition. Who are we to limit what a person can do to take charge of their health. We had rather put an unknown chemical into our bodies that was created in a lab rather than use the things that our ancestors used to remedy whatever.

Its a debate that has gone on for years and will not be solved in anyone's lifetime.

Carla November 10, 2009 10:54 AM

Finding pain relief can come in many forms but we have to look not only at what works, but what is lawful to use by government standards.  Not every medicine, technique, or treatment will be effective for all.  But, regulations have been placed on certain types of treatments that will limit and restrict their use.    A TENS unit works (but not on everyone) and its use is restricted and can only be dispensed by a licensed professional.  

Marijuana still has a negative impression on most people and when it is dipensed a licensed pharmacist is not available to discuss other medication interactions.  Whether the government will sanction its use or not is unlikely.

With all that aside I agree health professionals will use techniques that have limited scientific basis but since the government says it is okay we will continue to use them.  

Karen November 7, 2009 4:23 PM

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About this Blog

    Jason J. Marketti
    Occupation: Physical Therapist Assistant
    Setting: San Jacinto, CA
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