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what does physical therapy really do?Does it really help?

candayccanday Posts: 2
edited 06/11/2012 - 7:52 AM in Lower Back Pain
I am 28 yrs. old and have severe lower back pain, I have read up on pt and called my physical therapy office to see what was going to happen. They said electrical stimulation ultra sound, and stretching.

I have done the electrical stimulation therapy about a yr. ago and it put into a muscle spasm that lasted 5 days.

I have weakness in my legs, narrowing in my spine, disc bulge, and muscle spasms. I am in constant PAIN. I can not sit or stand to long; standing up hurts like hell.

I am hoping this pt really works.Has anyone had luck with pt? I am scared I will be worse off than I started. Going Monday, hoping I don't get stuck in a wheelchair again.

toradol,aspirin, and flexirl..aspirin daily!



  • I've had great success with Physical Therapy. Depending upon your condition, where you are at in the pain cycle, whether or not you have had or are having surgery ... all dictate what type of treatment protocols will be used. Sometimes PT has simply helped break the pain cycle for me so that I could make it through the end of the day and get home.

    Your doc generally puts in a request depending upon his/her goal for you. Then the therapist does their own evaluation based upon the doc's request. A treatment plan is developed based off the findings from the evaluation and doc's request.

    Yes I have had great success with it, and I hope you do as well.

  • I have had success and failure with PT. The success was when I used it to get my muscles in the best possible condition prior to surgery and then again after surgery. Because of this combo I came out of rotator cuff surgery with almost full range of motion within a week, which is unheard of. Also had minimal pain after with is also unheard of.

    The failure was because there are some things that PT can't do for you. It won't fix a herniation or a fracture or deterioration. It can help to reduce the strain on these injured areas by building up compensating muscles. Deep massage and stretching can help to ease some of the pain in muscle spasms but this is a temporary one-on-one kind of fix. Similar to using a heating pad or ice.

    For me it was critical to have an excellent PT who worked with me to find the best plan. He listens and adjusts as we go. But more important than anything is the patients attitude..if you think it will fail it most certainly will. If you keep positive and work hard you can have success.
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  • yes, it can work.
    Of course, like the others said, it won't help everything.

    It helped me for 17 years...with DDD and narrowing disc height. It worked b/c it started me on paying attention to body mechanics. I learned how to properly bend, lift, twist and to limit those repetitive motions. I also learned how to stretch properly and that keeping my core muscles (abs/back) in shape would protect me.

    Now, when I herniated my disc (tore the annulus) and lost a large piece that really impinged my sciatic nerve, PT was not going to help.

    I might add that indeed I took motrin daily for the most part and had a few times where I needed prescription NSAID from the doctors to help alleviate the inflammation.

    Hopefully you can get some relief from the sessions. Keep up the exercises after the sessions are over.
  • It is important to have good communication with the PT, and also to have a good PT.
    I can't tell you how many times I was in PT, but once I had THE best therapist ever. Oh what I would not give to have them all be like he was. I never actually enjoyed going to PT, but this guy made me really not hate going-you know?

    Gawd I miss him..... :<
    I think I might have fallen for him a little bit though, and probably why I got better so fast. I wanted to look really good.
  • I have to agree with Robin, a really good PT and one who is good looking too helps a lot!!! :X I have gone to many PT's over the years and one who understands your lifestyle and what you want to try and get back too is invaluable. I have been doing core exercises for so many years that most of my PT time now after surgery is to make sure I am still doing things correctly and to work on the scar tissue of which I have a lot!! It may take awhile to find the best one for you but it is worth it in the long run!! :D


    Spinal stenosis, spondolysis, spondolythesis, L4/L5 laminectomy, L4/L5 360 fusion with instrumentation, L1 to L5 fusion with instrumentation and bone graft from hip, L1/S1 fusion with replacement disc put in, PT, accupuncture, prolotherapy, many cortisone injections, 4 rhizotomies. Currently on tramadol which barely touches the pain.
    L4/L5 laminectomy, L4/L5 360 fusion with instrumentation, L1 to L5 fusion, L5/S1 fusion w/ disc replacement, left and right SI joints fused.
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  • I agree with what every one else has said. I have had great results and some not so good results.
    First if PT causes pain or aggrevates you condition tell the therapist. There is usually some pain but should not be debillitating.
    I had the lining (synovium) of my knee removed arthoscopically and it took over three weeks of stretching before I could get the stationary bike pedal to go all the way around. What a day that was..
    If stim put you in muscle spasms they probably had it up to high.
    Discuss your goals with the therapist, try the exercise the recommend, stop them if they hurt too bad. I imagine your goal should be to strengthen your core to relieve some of the pressure off your discs and nerves.
    A positive attitude goes a long way to successful PT.
    Good luck to you.
    laminectomy c4/c5 2008, ACDF c4-c7 Jan 20 2014 sched
  • yep yep to what everyone else has said. Find a PT that works with YOUR needs. Not some cookie cutter that does the same thing with everyone.

    The only time PT has helped me is when I found a PT that helped me do things that strengthened my back and leg muscles. That was a life saver for me!!

    My spine can't do it's job any more but my muscles in my back and legs are very strong. So they can carry the job out for the most part now :)
    L1 - S2 "gone" useless in 1 way or another. DDD. RA. Bone Spurs. Tons of nerve damage/issues. Stenosis. Both knees replaced. 50 yrs old. I had a great fall (hence my user name) at age 41 and it has been a domino effect every since.
  • My experiences with PT was normally just hooking me up to the huge TENS with a big heating pad then a timer would be set. Then later visits they would maybe put me on the Traction machine and set a timer. I did not see much happen from these visits other than the traction causes something to slip and hit right on a nerve and I end up in the ER because I can't move. (No more traction for me) I was sent once to a great PT place where they put me in a pool to do exercise, I got massaged, and was taught some other exercise to do. I thought that place was very beneficial for me and I noticed how it did help with the pain. But the PA who sent me there from Pain Mgmt got in trouble for sending me to an offsite facility versus their own so that was the end of a good thing. I then started back to my Pain Mgmt PT who only wants to do dry needling to me that I found to be very, very painful. It did nothing for my pain or condition, but that is all he wanted to do along with the timed TENS and heating pad. I kind of felt like I was getting taken. He charged quite a bit for the procedure so no wonder that's all he wanted to do. So I guess if you can find a good PT you are fortunate.
  • I guess it didn't work for me. They keep asking me to do the same exercises which I have done before. After little result, they put me in traction which only gave me temporary relief.
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