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PT and Pain

Lili_InuLLili_Inu Posts: 633
edited 06/11/2012 - 9:00 AM in Recovering from Surgery
So hears the million dollar question: Should physical therapy involve pain? I was told that I shouldn't have any pain and back off if I do. Then I read threads where someone will talk about how painful PT was and how it really paid off. I would love to hear from those who have had success from PT. Thanks! :)
2011 ACDF C5-6 for Spondylosis with Myleopathy
2012 L4-5 herniated disc and hernated disc at C4/5 2013 Taking Amitriptyline for headaches


  • I had PT last year after I was diagnosed-saw her about 12 time and besides it doing nothing for the condition one day she has me do an exercise that actually made it worse. My collarbones started to hurt and even though I told her it was hurting she didn't tell me to stop. So that was my last trip to the PT. They say traction helps a compressed spinal cord but I hurt more much later after she did it

    Most PT are for sports related injuries and not "experts" about things as delicate as our necks so they don't have any clue as to what is and isn't good for you. Stay away from chiropractors too.
  • So, has surgery fixed you? I had initial pain relief and I feel almost in as much pain as before surgery 1 year later.

    PT has worked sometimes for a period of time and then sometimes it hasn't worked at all. I can't seem to figure it out! I've tried plenty of PTs and most are sticking to what they've been trained to do.

    I hope your surgery is a success!
    2011 ACDF C5-6 for Spondylosis with Myleopathy
    2012 L4-5 herniated disc and hernated disc at C4/5 2013 Taking Amitriptyline for headaches
  • Pre surgery I tried pt and quit. It was too painful. Post op I did pt for 4 months, it was painful but nothing severe. Also when the exercise I was doing brought more pain I just told my therapist and she would usually modify it so it wouldn't cause as much pain.
    ACDF C4-5 June 23rd, 2011

    Another surgery in the near future. I am 26 years old.

    Current Meds- Norco 7.5/325, Cymbalta 60mg, Gabapentin, Adderall 20mg
  • Poochie, I respectfully, but totally, disagree with your statement about PT's being mostly for sports related injuries. I can say that with confidence as my daughter is a physiotherapist. Just like any medical professional you need to find the right one for you and your injury.

    For some people and their injury the right type of PT can prevent surgery. For others, whose injury is beyond that point of return, surgery may be the only option.

    I tried physio prior to surgery and the therapist only focused on traction. Although I felt great afterwards, it was only delaying the inevitable. Somewhere, a long time ago...okay 4 years ago....., I read where traction can actually be worse for the disk by continually stretching it. In hindsight, (and since then my daughter was licenced and taught me lots), I learned that the PT should have been also been giving me exercises to strengthen my neck muscles and correcting my posture.

    Donnabe, I had the same experience post-op. The exercises were too much, I told the PT, so we reduced them from 5 x per day to 3 x per day. That was all we needed to do.

    In my opinion, PT is important to your recovery and enhances the outcome of the surgery.

    Take care!
  • It's interesting to hear that neck exercises are important for posture of the neck. None of the PTs I worked with after surgery gave me any neck strengthening exercises, even after I complained about headaches and neck pain! It seems every PT has their own philosophies on rehab. I have some neck exercises that my physiatrist gave me that I will try. Thanks for the replies!
    2011 ACDF C5-6 for Spondylosis with Myleopathy
    2012 L4-5 herniated disc and hernated disc at C4/5 2013 Taking Amitriptyline for headaches
  • My physical therapist told me I may experience some pain as I start to do more activity. I will be starting to see him again for post-surgery PT next week. In the past when I saw him I would explain what kind of pain I was having and how severe it was. Based on that he would either tell me it was normal for me to feel that way as the muscles were getting stronger, OR he would modify the exercises if he thought I was doing too much.

    I've been through PT for my back, for my shoulder and for my foot. Each time I've gone through a phase where I do feel some pain as the muscles "wake up" and get stronger or stretch out more. The pain usually goes away quickly though. If it persists, then I would guess you're doing too much. PT has helped me immensely. Without it I would have needed back surgery years ago.

    Are you currently in PT? Good luck!
  • Thank you for your reply! The last PT told me that I have to be "my own PT". I guess it's all trial and error. Currently I'm not seeing a therapist, but I do exercises at home. I took all the different exercises from all the different therapists I've seen and compiled a group of exercises that have helped me gain strength without too much discomfort. I've been told that I will have to do PT exercises for the rest of my life and I really don't mind as long as I can figure out the best ones for me. In the meantime, I continue to plug along hoping for the best.

    How are you doing? Are you in PT?
    2011 ACDF C5-6 for Spondylosis with Myleopathy
    2012 L4-5 herniated disc and hernated disc at C4/5 2013 Taking Amitriptyline for headaches
  • Theoretically I'll start PT at the end of next week. I'll see the surgeon on Wednesday and he'll let me know if he still wants me to start it on Friday.

    I'll go to PT twice a week. I probably already know all the exercises from going to PT in the past, but I want someone to monitor me and make sure I'm not progressing too fast so I don't re-injure anything.

    In general I'm doing okay, but I started back at work on Thursday (for half days at a desk job). I just stood at my desk for 3 hours then went home, but on Friday I was sore. I hope it gets easier/less painful as my body gets used to going back to work.

    I had no idea this surgery would kick my butt so much! I slept for 12 hours last night when I got home from work. I don't know that I've ever done that before. I know I just had spine surgery, but I feel like a wuss when I see the other, more intense kinds of surgery that other people have had.

    How are you doing Lili_Inu? Hopefully your smorgasboard of exercises will help.

  • Going to be looking for a PT soon and am worried about it. I had an artificial disc replacement and had to travel a few hours to have it done.

    I am worried that I won't be able to find a therapist that will know what to do with me, as they really haven't dealt with adr surgery. I imagine therapy would be similar to someone who had fusion, but not sure. I definitely don't want to hurt my recovery more than help.

    Have any of you tried hydrotherapy?

    Granadilla, all the best back at work. Take it easy, make sure to get up and walk around alot.

    >:D< Karen
    >:D< >:-D< : Karen
    L3-S1 herniation and bulges, stenosis, mod facet,ddd,impinged nerves,coccydinia
    discectomy/lami July 2011-unsuccessful
    adr L5-S1 Feb 2012
  • In the last 25 years, I have had probably 200 plus PT sessions for my knees, shoulder, and back. Much of my back PT was done at a leading Rehab hospital in Boston. What was said to me there was PT will likely cause you soreness to your muscles but it should never cause you pain. If you have pain,then the exercise should be stopped or adjusted.I am currently having PT for my back due to a development of Scoliosis and both my PT and myself have adopted the same reasoning, soreness good, pain bad.

    Emergency surgery in March of 2006 for spinal infection of L 2 and L 3. During surgery, discovered I had Cauda Equina Syndrome. Spine became unstable after surgery and had 360 fusion with 10 pedicle screws, plates and rods in April of 2007.
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