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Ambiguous doctors and PTs - okay it's a rant

AnonymousUserAAnonymousUser Posts: 49,550
edited 06/11/2012 - 7:32 AM in Exercise and Rehab
This is something that I've encountered quite a bit and it really hacks me off.

It seems like none of the physicians nor the PTs will actually provide definititve statements about back pain treatment and I really wonder why. I am not being hyperbolic here, I can't seem to pin down anyone when it comes to back pain or rehabilitation.

Me: "So, should I ice or heat the muscles?"
PT: "Well some do better with heat, others by icing."
Yeah, thanks for the clarification.

Me: "So how many Ibuprofins can I take?"
Doctor: "Well that depends on body weight, but 2400 mg a day should be okay - just don't do it for months."
Me: "But I've been hurting for 10 weeks now."
Doc: "Oh, well you should be fine anyway."
Hmm, any other conflicting information you'd like to offer?

From my PT "We can't advise on drugs."
"Any? Not even aspirin?"
"Nope, talk to your physician about that."
"Okay, thanks for nothing."

"Do these stretches and strenghtening exercises daily."
"Well, what about when they're sore?"
"In that situation don't do the stretches or exercises."
So basically I can't do the exercises until I stop hurting, at which point I don't need to do the exercises.

I try not to be argumentative or a jerk - but conflicting or confusing statements by physicians make problems like this worse. PT's that refuse to make definitive statements on ANYTHING are useless. If a PT can't tell me to either ice or heat my injured muscles then I question their abilities. Am I the only one who sees this? I go to a cardiologist for my high blood pressure - he can tell me 6 ways to heaven on what to do or not to do on blood pressure control. But I can't find a doctor or PT who can give me solid advice on how to repair injured back muscles. All I get is this ambiguous "work the core muscles" mantra.

And yet none of the exercises I've been given do that - they all work my lats, glutes, rhomboids, and hamstrings.


  • All I can say is... oh, ya, been there/done that.

    To me, talking to my surgeon and my PM feels like I'm trying to pull teeth. My son tells me I am too agreeable, and that most of the time, I can put on a happy face even when I'm miserable, which makes my complaints seem contrary to the way I act. But, when I finally DO ask questions, I get the runaround, or I'm asked right back "what do YOU want to do?" :T What's even more frustrating is when you know you won't be able to contact your doctor again for a while, and no matter how hard you try you either CAN'T get a straight answer, or you forget to ask a question... ~X(

    You know what I think would be great? A full course taught by health care professionals on how to talk to your doctor. I sometimes think that there is a "magic question" for each thing we want to address, and without the proper wording, we're out of luck. =((
  • YES! About ten years ago I injured my shoulder and my doc sent me to PT at the university of Michigan health centers and the treatment I received was outstanding!! I had the same person on EVERY visit and she actually remembered me from one visit to the next. She would give me straight answers to my questions and there was a doctor right there that would spend a couple of minutes with me every couple of weeks and actually examined my shoulder! After six weeks I was as good as new! Shortly after that I was in a car accident and my neck hurt so bad I thought I was going to die!! My useless doctor refused to do any x-ray or MRI he said "if your neck was broken you wouldn't be walking". I never said it was broken! Just that it was the worst pain I had ever felt! After several visits he still wouldn't give in on any testing so I asked him to refer me to PT. I went to the same place, but had a different person. Same excellent treatment! After a few months the pain level was almost nonexistent so I stopped going. Now ten years later i live in a small town in northern Michigan and I am seeing a pain doc for major issues with my lower back and I mention the neck issues to her and that the pain has been increasing and that I am suffering from horrible debilitating headaches so she immediately orders an MRI. They determine there is a large herniation at C5-C6 and major arthritis.I don't want to see the surgeon at this time so I ask her about PT. What a joke!! They have 3 therapists and 2 "office people" you never see the same person each time and sometimes you end up seeing all 3 in one visit!! At one visit one of the office people "took care of me" by having me ride the exercise bike for a half hour then lay on a heating pad for the rest of the time!! I once asked one of the therapists the ice/heat question and she told me to only use ice on an old injury! The next time I had a different therapist who freaked out and said NEVER use ice on an old injury! Well gee thanks for clearing that up!! Then there's the third therapist who won't commit to ice or heat but will explain in great detail how to make tiramisu!! Not kidding!!!
    Anyway, thanks for a great topic! It really does help to share our stories with each other! And if we don't laugh at the stupidity it will just bring us down even more.
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