The PT Boom: Physical Therapists Can Use Compound Pharmaceuticals to Treat Baby Boomers

The PT Boom: Physical Therapists Can Use Compound Pharmaceuticals to Treat Baby Boomers

Compound PharmaceuticalsOctober is the season of sports, with the professional baseball, football, hockey and basketball, and college football and basketball all playing at the same time. In this day and age, however, many of the regular folks sitting on the couch marveling at professional athletes performing incredible physical feats on the field are also extremely active individuals themselves.

Many members of the Baby Boom generation, or those born between 1946 and 1964, have stayed incredibly active even into their later years. Increased injuries within this competitive generation due to running, hiking, skiing, and swimming has put a premium on physical therapists and trainers who can help their clients.1 Compound pharmaceuticals can assist PTs with pain management, especially when treatment options are developed specifically for patients of the boomer generation. A knowledgeable physical therapist who can apply compound pharmaceuticals to customize their patients’ treatment regimes will have a leg up on the competition in a fiercely competitive field, and ultimately provide better patient care.

Types of Compound Pharmaceuticals for Physical Therapy

Pain is a very subjective experience and every sufferer will be affected differently. Just as a good physical therapist customizes a PT plan for each individual, pairing that plan with a customized pain medication treatment plan can make the entire patient experience more comfortable and ultimately successful. Utilizing compound topicals or transdermals for pain management carries plenty of benefits, including better efficacy, lower risk of side effects, lower systemic absorption, and easier titration for meeting individuals’ medication needs.

The most common type of compound pharmaceutical a physical therapist will use in his or her practice is a topical peripheral analgesic for pain relief that is applied directly to the site of the pain, such as nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), lidocaine or capsaicin. Lidocaine and capsaicin in particular can be easily used as active ingredients in compound pharmaceuticals to assist PTs with treating patient pain while lowering side effects and making more delivery methods possible. For patients with difficulty using oral doses of analgesics, for instance, compounded topicals applied as creams, gels, or rubs can result in fewer adverse systemic effects and can be especially useful when used in conjunction with PT for post-operative joint pain.2

Physical therapists may also work with their patients to combine PT with transdermal compound pharmaceuticals to assist with relieving chronic or acute pain. Compounded transdermals also avoid some of the potential complications of orally dosed pain killers, including side effects, addiction and abuse risk, and other issues. Transdermal compound pharmaceuticals are also prepared using one or more active pharmaceutical ingredients such as lidocaine or capsaicin. A physical therapist would be most likely to encounter and use transdermal delivery systems like a medicated patch.3

Considerations for the Physical Therapist with Baby Boom Clients

Many Baby Boomers fall into two categories of people who benefit from thoughtful physical therapy and customized compound medications—active individuals and seniors. Record numbers of the baby boom generation participate in triathlons, road races, trail races, cycling challenges, endurance races, senior league sports, and other grueling physical activity well into their later years. Beyond those athletes, however, what makes the Baby Boom generation so unprecedented is the level to which so many of its members exercise, even if it’s just a walk every evening or a short run every morning.

Health care agencies estimate that by 2030, six in 10 Boomers will be managing more than one chronic condition, nearly 26 million (or half) will be living with arthritis, and knee replacements will be performed at eight times the current rate. Decreased mobility from arthritis or chronic and acute pain from joint replacement operations will drive many Baby Boomers to seek alternative pain control and exercise therapies, further highlighting the already very natural alignment between physical therapy and compound pharmaceuticals.4

Additionally, racial and ethnic diversity continues to rise throughout the population, and the Baby Boom generation is no exception. Currently, 20 percent of this generation are members of minority groups. These patients will require physical therapists who are sensitive to how to provide PT services to patients of all cultures, and provide opportunities for PTs to partner with compounding pharmacies to provide pain management compounded to meet the needs of patients of all races and ethnicities.5

Generally speaking, Boomers are more likely than previous generations to seek out health care options that work for them, including complementary medicine and other alternative therapies. This makes many of them ideal candidates for physical therapy and very receptive to utilizing compound pharmaceuticals that can ease recovery and manage pain. Whether it’s using a topical cream containing a highly effective pharmaceutical ingredient for the post-knee surgery patient who wants to get back to her morning hikes but can’t take medication orally, or using a medicated patch to help the patient with arthritic pain in his elbow recover in time for an upcoming triathlon, compound pharmaceuticals assist PTs with getting patients back to their lives as quickly and safely as possible.

Pharmaceutica North America is the premier provider of high-quality active pharmaceutical ingredients for compound medications, as well as custom compounding kits to assist health care providers and physical therapists with providing the best patient care and therapy treatments. Contact us to learn more about our active kits and custom compounding kits.

Show 5 footnotes

  1. “Demand for Physical Therapists Grows as Baby Boomers Age,” accessed Oct. 5, 2015,
  2. “Topical analgesics in the management of acute and chronic pain,” February 2013,; “Topical Pain Relief: Creams, Gels and Rubs,” accessed Oct. 3, 2015,
  3. “Pain Management Therapy: The Benefits of Compounded Transdermal Pain Medication,” Nov. 27, 2014,
  4. “When I’m 64: How Boomers Will Change Health Care,”
  5. “When I’m 64,” ibid.

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