ASTORIA, N.Y., Nov. 26, 2016 /PRNewswire/ -- Prescription opioid headlines are staggering: 40 Americans die each day from overdoses involving prescription opioids; they cost the United States economy $78.5 billion a year; and 227 million opioid prescriptions were handed out in the U.S. in 2015. Photo - http://photos.prnewswire.com/prnh/20161125/442970 In response to the millions of Americans living with chronic pain and seeking relief, the American Physical Therapy Association (APTA) rolled out its # ChoosePT Campaign with a clear message: opioids only mask pain, physical therapists treat pain through movement and exercise. In concert with the APTA, members of the organization's Private Practice Section are stepping up efforts to educate the public about physical therapy as a safe, nondrug alternative to opioids for pain management. The U.S. has reached a tipping point in the opioid epidemic, with studies showing more than half of pain sufferers turning to pills and other unproven methods for relief. Opioids are often prescribed to treat back pain, neck pain, and degenerative joint disease, but are not the only option patients have. Use of prescription opioids to mask pain is a risky, short-term solution that leads to powerful addiction and will never provide sufferers with long-term relief. Recommended as a safe alternative to opioids for pain management by both the CDC and the Surgeon General, physical therapy can help patients work through their condition and get better. Hands-On and PhysioCare Physical Therapy in Astoria, NY is in the forefront of helping patients not only find pain relief but helping them resolve the source of their pain sensation. "The idea is not just to mask pain sensation, but to truly identify the source of the problem and implement appropriate Physical Therapy interventions to eliminate and resolve the patient's problem. This way patients can live a pain-free life," says Dr Konstantine Rizopoulos, co-founder of Hands-On. Private practitioners have unique access to the right resources to help patients choose physical therapy to manage pain without the risks and side effects of opioids. These physical therapists rely on outcomes- based evidence to treat pain and help patients increase strength, flexibility, and improve mobility. Their primary focus is to fix the dysfunction permanently and give patients the tools to independently address dysfunction throughout their lifetime.