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Advice please!! physical therapy messed me up!!!

AnonymousUserAAnonymousUser Posts: 49,553
One of my doctors sent me to physical therapy - I've been there all of 3 times. This last time, she was trying to see what would make me worse and what would make me better. Well, now I'm so much worse, I'm more than just a little mad. When I saw her the first time, I had the pain level of about a 1. Now my pain is up to a 4 and won't stop. (I'm extremely pissed off if anyone can't tell!) I've had this pain for 5 days straight and can't relieve it - just squatting to sit on the toilet makes the pain worse. I'm in shock that p.t. could do this.

The exercises she had me do were: 1) put my toes right up to the wall while facing it and hold onto a bar on that wall. Then she had me squat down as far as I could and she pushed down on my shoulders several times. When I stood up, she said "is that better or worse?" I said, "worse." This is the position that always aggravates my symptoms.
2) She also had me ly on my stomach and push myself so far up that pain went down my left leg, which has NEVER happened before (only my right). She said as long as the pain is only there when I do the exercise, I'm okay. Well, today I still have the pain. It's 5 days later.

So, now I have pain to the extreme in my right leg and sometimes in my left. Can anyone relate to this? Is it possible for my p.t. to have re-ruptured my previously operated on disc by having me do these exercises?

I'm just so angry right now. Please, advice needed...anybody?????



  • Hey CSP,
    Sorry to hear about your problems there with the pt. Although I cannot relate as of yet, I sympathize with you. I just got released for 50% weight bearing and now get to start pt and this is the reason I'm scared. Uncaring bastards. Hope you get better.

  • Hi CSP, yeah, it can sure feel like hell. But they cannot push you further if the exercise causes pain. Once you tell them it hurts, they should stop and note that in their chart. Then the therapist should have you do a position that eases the pain like lying in a fetal position with the knees drawn up comfortably (it helped me out). They should provide you heat pads or ice packs. Don't feel bad, I didn't do well with my post op PT. The insurance won't continue paying if you are not making progress. Keep all the exercise printout so that you can do them at home once you are released from PT. I think you should call your doctor if you're still having a lot of pain. The last thing he wants happening is you getting injured. A good therapist who listens and is very knowledgeable is crucial to your success.
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  • dilaurodilauro ConnecticutPosts: 11,365
    it can be so beneficial at times and at other times be potentially destructive. I have done PT generally directly after surgery or after a flare up. But I limit the time I will spend with them.
    The initial sessions are generally not aggressive enough to hurt anyone. But as sessions continue (could be 2,3, or 4 weeks), they tend to move to more aggressive actions.
    Recently, I had a problem where I could not lift my arms more than 90 degrees. My pain management doctor ordered some Physical Therapy. It was against my better judgment and I told my doctor so. Still, she wanted me to try and I willing to try almost anything to eliminate all my pain medications.
    When I went to PT, I told them that just passive stuff. Well, after 2 sessions when they had my stretching my shoulders and arms, I knew the flare up was coming and it came on with a vengeance. Its now been 7 weeks and I am still in a flare up.
    So yes, PT can mess you up. Most of the time under most situations, it is helpful. But the dividing line needs to be with yourself. Physical Therapists by nature are in good shape, so they tend to 'push' their patients so that they also become good physical specimens. That aint always the case! Trust your judgment, if something in PT doesnt seem right, speak up
    Ron DiLauro Veritas-Health Forums Manager
    I am not a medical professional. I comment on personal experiences
    You can email me at: rdilauro@veritashealth.com
  • Thank you for your comments. Sorry if I'm sounding harsh about people who are potentially trying to help me. I just am shocked that something and someone you trust can do you harm. (My therapist truly wants to help me.) I just hope and pray that these exercises haven't re-herniated that disc.

  • I went to PT to try the conservitive method before surgery, I was having spasm at L5-SI never had any problems in my upper back..The first time they did traction they almost dumped me off the table in the floor, they had the table sideways to try and take pressure off the nerve. After a few visits I started feeling like something was poking out of my back at L2-3 where I only had a bulge, well needless to say I ended up with a large hernaition and burning and surgery at L2-3 and thats not even where my problem was. Now after surgery I found some excercises that will strengthen my core and stabalize my spine , no more pt for me, they caused me alot of grief and I am still hurting in my thoracic area..
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  • I was sent to PT as the first step in my treatment. After 5 visits, I called my Doctor and begged her not to make me go back. I hurt more after those sessions than I ever did before. The PT guy almost seemed like he was unsure of himself. He would do a lot of "hmmmm...I wonder if this will work...hmmm..let's try this".....scary.....I hoper I don't ever have to go back.
  • Wow! Can't believe this many people have had p.t. problems. I thought it was just me. The thing is... I exercise every day - religiously, because of my back. And still... the exercises she tried sent nerve pains down both of my legs. So, it's not that I'm out of shape, but her exercises were sooooo extreme. I mean, who does a push up so hard that their body becomes a letter V (while on stomach). If you have to bend that far, it obviously isn't the exercise that works. (I feel bad... I know she's trying to help me. AFter all, she's only charging me $10 per visit. And that's without insurance.)


  • dilaurodilauro ConnecticutPosts: 11,365
    but what doesn't?

    It makes a world of difference in who your physical therapist is. When you find a gem, hold on to them.
    I have had two over 30 years of PT and I would do anything they asked of me. They knew my body and mechanics better than I did.

    SO folks, don't give up on Physical Therapy. If there is a problem deal with it with your doctor and therapist. No reason anyone should have to 'suffer' as a result of physical therapy
    Ron DiLauro Veritas-Health Forums Manager
    I am not a medical professional. I comment on personal experiences
    You can email me at: rdilauro@veritashealth.com
  • I am a huge proponent of physical therapy. My therapists have helped me so much. But I have also have had therapists who simply read the doctor's notes and didn't pay any attention to how I was feeling, for instance that my damaged nerve was really angry after PT and I didn't go to work the next day. So, I don't think your problem is so much with therapy as with the therapist. Tell your doc and find someone else (in my humble opinion), Susan
  • I've been through a lot of PT, and one of the first things they ought to let patients know is that the first few weeks you will have increased pain. I've had both good and bad experiences with PT, and absolutely agree that the therapist has a lot to do with it. They do have to go through certain tests to see what your limitations are so they can chart improvement. My best advice would be to try and stick with a therapist you feel is listening to you and not to do something you already know will worsen you without discussing a different way to do it first.

    The PT place I've gone to before and after my last back surgery was undergoing a turnover when I first started there. When I was bounced from different people, I ended up with the cookie-cutter treatment for back pain by most of the therapists and assistants. I have severe nerve pain in my groin and leg and ended up injured shortly into treatment. After being gone for some time, I came back and decided to only see one therapist who I felt was taking everything into consideration. I even went to a different facility to stick with her after having my back surgery last year as I wanted someone who was working with me.

    I hope things get better for you.
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