Physical Therapy in Drug and Alcohol Recovery

Years, months, or weeks of chronic drug or alcohol abuse can damage the body in ways that aren’t always easy to see immediately. These physical consequences present themselves gradually over time in most cases. Some ailments can occur after only a short period or are circumstantial. Take for instance, a person drinking alcohol falls down and breaks his or her leg or a person who has a stroke after first-time or chronic drug and alcohol use.

Many of these consequences require the use of a physical therapist to help the user regain mobility. Alta Mira Recovery employs the use of physical therapy in developing overall treatment plans for our clients. Getting through addiction is tough, but so is dealing with any bodily challenges that are a result of drug or alcohol use. Read on to learn more about how drugs and alcohol affect the body and why physical therapy may be a good option for you.

Drug Use and Your Body


A drug addict may look normal and healthy at first but, after a period of prolonged and frequent use, signs of the drug will show through disease, skin rashes, malnutrition, or poor dental hygiene. Users can also experience high blood pressure, cardiovascular problems, brain damage, and decreased liver function, among others.

Sharon Fair’s Wellness and Physical Therapy outlines some reasons as to why drug and alcohol users may need physical therapy to help in recovery. Substance abuse can weaken the body and the immune system, making it more susceptible to infectious diseases and other complications. Prolonged alcohol abuse can cause strokes, which can severely impair a person’s motor skills and overall functioning.

Physical Therapy Has Its Benefits


When looking at a treatment center for substance abuse, physical therapy can be an excellent option to incorporate into an overall recovery plan. According to Breaking the Cycles, a website dedicated to substance abuse and recovery education, physical therapy can help an individual with a full recovery and help prevent relapse. It may also serve as a direct intervention method for drug use. Other benefits to physical therapy include:

  • Improved self-confidence. Using exercise as a means of therapy can help a person feel and grow stronger. Lack of confidence in oneself can be a contributing factor to relapse, so fostering positive self-image can help a person make better decisions in the future.
  • Improved physical appearance. A more healthy physical appearance correlates to higher levels of confidence. It also may help to mend some of the surface damage that can happen to a body as a result of drug or alcohol use.
  • Pain relief. The American Physical Therapy Association identifies the use of physical therapy to assist with chronic pains. Exercise can help decrease pain levels and increase one’s mobility.
  • Fills void left over from drugs. When a person is recovering from drugs or alcohol, there is often the feeling of a void or hole where that substance used to be. Physical therapy can help to refocus a person on committing to a healthy lifestyle through exercise.

When a person begins to feel better on the outside and inside, amazing things can happen. Physical therapy may be just one of the facets that can work for you in a recovery plan. It can help to instill independence and self-confidence, and help a person to make better, healthier life choices in the future. If you’re interested in learning more about physical therapy as a substance abuse treatment, call us today at Alta Mira. Our trained and licensed therapists can develop a recovery plan that’s best for you.