Physical Therapy Expert Forum
Physical therapy
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This is a place to get answers to your personal questions about how physical therapy can help you recover from injuries or lessen pain caused by chronic conditions such as arthritis.

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Physical therapy

I have been to physical therapy over 11 times. Each time I go, the therapist tried to pinpoint my pain issue by pressing on the nerves in my back called a massage. That only increased the pain and of course they put me on a hot pad before beginning exercises. Of course I do the exercises and most of them are mild but after a two week period my pain increased and I was told to go back to my doctor for more diagnosis. I have been through swim therapy which only lasted again two weeks. I have a history of degenerative joint/disk disease and have had 5 surgeries, had metal implanted and removed due to nerve impingement but my orthopedic surgeon and pain management team has done a good job, better than the physical therapy. I am walking for the first time in 5 years but they are recommending a physical therapist again and each one seems to cause me problems. I used to do Pilates(for beginners) and I liked the program that I did at home. It wasn't too stressful and that was the most success I had with any type of physical therapy.
Here is my question...
After being to so many physical therapist and NOT getting relief, my doctor even wrote on the form, mild to slow physical therapy but I ALWAYS wind up in pain and then the physical therapist tells me to go back to my doctor because of the pain I experience. Why am I constantly being referred to physical therapy when they always find a way to hurt me? What can I do? I do walking exercises and stretching at home but know I need a little more help but don't trust physical therapists any more. Why don't they listen to what the doctor orders? Why do they push to the point of pain. I explain to them what I can and cannot do. What are my options here?
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The doctor knows that therapy will help.  the problem may be that by going to a new therapy clinic they may be unaware of what you were doing at the time of your previous therapy sessions to use as a baseline of exercises that you can and cannot tolerate.  What you can do is ask your previous therapist to fax your therapy records to your new clinic or have a copy of it made for you to bring yourself.  From that you and the new therapist can go over the record of exercises being performed and contour your new therapy sessions to what you can tolerate in the beginning and progress from there.  There are definite benefits to therapy and I encourage you to continue to attempt therapy once again.  It does take time and knowing that you had 5 surgeries I understand that setbacks with each surgery occur.  Take it upon yourself to ask questions, ask your doctor, ask your therapist, but remember that when you are asking the questions be calm and simply ask what the plan of care is and the rationale behind it for educational purposes.  Some health professionals can get defensive when a patient asks a lot of questions without knowing why they are asking them.  Lastly, it is important to communicate with your therapist so they know each time you come into therapy what is going on and how you responded to the previous session.  This will help the therapist to modify your treatment that best suits you.

Best in Health,
JAG
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