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Physical Therapy 101

dilaurodilauro ConnecticutPosts: 13,587
edited 02/02/2016 - 11:19 AM in Pain Management
Physical Therapy is a critical piece of your overall recovery period. Since it is so important, you want to make sure you have the right therapist and are using the right center:

Its a Five Stage Process:

One You meet with the Physical Therapist and they do an evaluation to size up what you will really need. This is important for them to do, but at the same time, I basically interview the therapist also. I need to make sure they have a patient care attitude. I check out the center itself regarding the number of therapists/technicians and what kind of equipment they have. And IF they are associated with a hospital they generally have more versed staff.

Two Life is easy. A little massage there, some ultrasound, some ice/cold treatments, etc... If you had wine and chocolates, you might think you went to a massage spa.

Three The PAIN. Here is when as you described it is Physical Torture. In reality you are starting to use muscles and other part of your body that has been some what dormant before surgery and after the surgery. In most situations, this should only last about 2 weeks.

Four No Pain, No Gain... Here is the time in Physical Therapy that I sometimes object to. Therapists by nature are in super condition, so while working with someone who isnt up to their standards, you can get a little of the " Work harder, Push, more, more more"
This is the time that may times I believe PT can do more harm then good. Talk this over with your therapist and if needed your doctor. There are certain things we just can not do and should not do.

Five The Discharge! Here is when they will release you from therapy. Many times that happens when the therapist feels that no additional progress is being made for your condition... Thats ok, take the honorable discharge and just start to do the exercises they told you about and do it at home

You will come through and you should feel better when its over

Additional Information regarding Physical Therapy:

1 - Find a center that is associated with a local hospital. Generally, they will have additional staff and access to more equipment.

2 - Ask your doctor for their personal recommendations. I know in the past, some of my doctors had preferences as to what center to to go.

3 - Visit the center prior to your first appointment. Talk to the Administrative staff, tell them you are thinking about coming to them. Ask to be shown around the facility. Find out how many fully licensed therapist they have, how many technicians and how many students. Check for various equipment. Any good center will be willing to share this information with you.

4 - Your first visit will probably be the evaluation. Here is where they go up/down/side to side on you, take measurements (range of motion), identify pain levels, etc. This can take anywhere from 30 minutes to an hour.

5 - Ask if the person doing the evaluation will be the person doing your treatments. If not, still find out who will be doing your treatments and what can of schedule does that person have. It is so very important to stick with one therapist during your times going there. There will be a bond between patient and therapist that sometimes is stronger than between patient and doctor. The therapist might get to know your body better than you do.

6 - Know when to say enough is enough. I am a firm believe in Physical Therapy. It is one of the major ingredients in successful recovery. However, there are times when the therapy can go too far. I had too many sessions, where I allowed the therapist to push me more than what should have been pushed. As a result, I suffered and had setbacks. Now, I am at a point and experienced enough to tell the therapist, just how far I can go. They know I will work and I will push hard, but they totally respect my judgment.

Last thing, dont give up! The first couple of sessions can look so dark and gloomy. You may question yourself as to why you bother to go in the first place, you are hurting more.

Ron DiLauro Veritas-Health Forums Manager
I am not a medical professional. I comment on personal experiences 
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