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Can Someone, Anyone Please Read This And Respond, Therapist Stops Therapy On My Herniated Neck ...Now Surgery Is My Only Option

I went for what I thought would be another day of therapy only that didn't happen. I sat there as she was discussing time constraints to a Physical Therapy Student and that my therapy should be over by 11:45. I began feeling like I hopped on that conveyor belt and had written on my chart, "Head em up, Move em on out!!!" She did a reassessment to see my three week progression but told the therapy student that I hadn't progressed and if anything I had gotten worse over the course of the three weeks of therapy. What happened to "gotta get worse to get better", here? Why would the neurologist order six weeks of therapy and I only receive three? Why would this therapist take it upon herself to deny that last three weeks that were ordered? Shouldn't she be letting me finish out that course of therapy? I was feeling better on the traction, I felt like it was a start to healing. Today I left the therapy totally and utterly defeated and greatly disappointed. I didn't have traction, I didn't have massage and she didn't take me through the exercises. I went there with a predetermined plan by this therapist. I think she thought this through over the course of two days and decided that I no longer needed therapy because of the lack of progression. Why oh why couldn't I keep trying because I was doing this to avoid surgery? Now I'm sitting here this afternoon waiting for the neurologist's office to get back from lunch so that I can let them know what happened and schedule an appointment to discuss what's next. I feel and know in my heart of hearts that I'll most certainly be sent to a neurosurgeon and I am still not ready to face that!!! I can't even describe what I'm feeling right now, shock with the therapist, disappointment, defeat, it's all rolling into one big snowball of emotions. I have a huge knot in my throat from holding back tears, I'm getting a headache just from all the pent up emotions.

NaniKai
12 Responses
147426 tn?1317269232
I'm so sorry this came up and in this way.  Hope is such a stong emotion to cling to.

The physical therapists that I have worked with have an almost constant communication with the ordering physicians.  They are trained to reassess and make recommendations back to the doc about progress, lack there of, and deterioration.  They have to use their judgment about when to continue therapy, when to advance and when it should be discontinued.  Thus if a physician orders a set duration of therapy and the PT thinks that it is unwise to continue, it would be gross negligence to blindly continue and not advise the doc of their opinion.  I doubt the therapist is acting solo here.

You've always known that this approach was a "****-shoot", that is it might not do the trick to allow you to avoid surgery.  There is no way to calmly accept failure in this situation.  You woud be feeling this sense of defeat even if you had gone the whole 6 weeks, and then gotten this news.

Today you are saying that you thought you were a little better with the traction therapy, but the last post I saw from you expressed just the opposite!  Denial is a potent force in the mental tricks we play with ourselves to get through tough times.  It doesn't sound like the therapist communicated well with you today.  That is certainly a risk when there is a student in the picture.  Instead of modeling a therapeutic relationship, they hurry to get everything done and the teaching in also and the patient feels like a small compenent on an assembly line.

That this therapist has ceased therapy with you, does not doom you to surgery.  Discuss it with the doc, ask if all avenues have, indeed, been exhausted.  You can always refuse surgery.  Things are not out of your hands.

Here's a cyberhug (((HUG)))  Now make an appointment to see the doc.  Quix
Avatar universal
I have an appointment for Monday afternoon to see the physician's assistant. I'd be forced to wait until after July 4th to see the neurologist.
You know Quix, the traction felt good because of the stretch and release that I felt but the things that weren't necessarily good were the muscle cramps in my arms in th evenings. I didn't really understand how I could feel so good in traction and hours later feel like I was back to square one where my neck was feeling stiff and sore. The traction was almost a saving grace while it was on but it didn't last hours later. I could almost feel my spine crunching back into the place it was prior. I told the therapist today that I didn't understand some of the numbness in my arms. At one point she had to roll up my pant leg to compare my arm numbness. My left was totally numb while I had some sensation in the right but when she compared the right to my leg, I had not as much as in my leg. Is that something normal, should I have been more numb in my arm than my leg, when just moments before I felt like I had sensation in my right arm?
In the aspect of feeling defeated, I do because the neurologist said that I could try therapy first but if it failed then he would refer me to the neurosurgeon. That says in and of itself that there are no other avenues open to me.
Avatar universal
Avatar universal
I am so sorry that the therapist's communication skills were not good. I think they somethimes forget when they are teaching students, that we are actually patients with feelings too, not  virtual dummies (or literal ones for that matter). I know you are bitterly disappointed and not sure about surgery, but try to open your mind up to the possibility. Surgery is painful, time consuming, expensive, but in many cases the best option to regain or keep the best quality of life available. I'm not saying total healing, just to do the most possible to heal as much as you can. I'm doing pretty well, my neck incision site is healing up, still a lump and sore to touch, but closed . The muscles across my shoulders and down left are still hurt, but not as much. No headaches still.I'm getting more energy back each day. I'm still glad I opted for the surgery. God Bless, and keep your chin up.
Avatar universal
I obviously wasn't aware that the therapist could stop my therapy midstream and so when she did I was thrown for a loop.
Having had two knee replacement surgeries (one total and revision to the total) I'm fearful of any surgeries now. When I compare that surgery to having my CSection and Hysterectomy, the knee replacement was by far the worst. Having a baby naturally is mild to me in comparison although I remember my daughter's face of agonizing pain taking over her body. I had my first daughter naturally but CSection with the one whom I'm speaking of. I was with her for the birth of her son. Surgery is always a scary option no matter what surgery but the knee surgery did it for me. The post op pain, the having to get out of bed and touch weight walking was unbearably painful. Transferring from the bed to a chair was absolutely horrible because I remember that I pivoted a bit more than I should have and tugged on the drain, that pain is no joke. Going home and having to learn to get around with a walker and trying to carry something was comical at times. I opted for the walker because of my neck and shoulder pain (I didn't know at the time that my neck was as bad as it is, but using crutches was just not in my post op plan). I had to learn to walk over again because of the size of my calves changing my gait. See, I lift weights to strengthen my quadriceps and by doing so I also build my calves and it changed the gait enough that the therapist had me walk the length of the gym and set up mirrors along the way so that I could see how my foot was planting on the floor. (2nd surgery and therapy).
The first surgery I was stuck in a room with an elderly lady who was constantly trying to get out of bed and screaming nurse at the top of her lungs so I couldn't rest even if I wanted to. When I was transferred to rehab, I didn't know that I would spend the next two and a half weeks walking their corridors. I became familiar with the "day room" and what it was about. During certain times of the day they offered snacks and juice. I would meet my old roommates in the day room because I was transferred to a room "with a view". They thought I would be happier there and I really was, I settled in quickly. The only thing that I didn't like was the fact that I was so close to the nurses station and their midnight "cackles" and giggles were disturbing my sleep. Eventually I got to go home and when I got home I was babysitting my grandson so that my daughter could work. He was four and a half then so he was easy to take care of. He was a big help to me. Once he saw Grandma's knee he was afraid that I would have to go back to the hospital and he was just glad to have me home so he helped me a lot. I accidentally fell in his room one evening though and hit my head on the wall so I had to call his other Grandmother to come and take him for the night so that I could rest, my head had a huge goose egg on it.
This is the one of the reasons why I'm scared of surgeries but I'm also afraid because of the things that I've read here and I won't lie, I am really scared. I thought they did anterior or posterior incisions and I'm seeing that they incise the side of the neck (lateral incision), given that I have very long hair, the posterior and lateral incisions would not bother me BUT because my hair is long and also thick, I frequently wear it up in a ponytail to avoid getting overheated when I walk. There are so many things that make me very uncomfortable about having the neck surgery.

NaniKai
Avatar universal
I had a difficult problem with a neurosurgeon, but found the best orthopedic surgeon, who has done all of my back surgeries. Dont give up, exercise does help, the one i found that worked the best was abdominal exercises and balance exercises while in the pool. Best of luck  Marsha
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