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Back Problems Message Board

Back Problems Board Index

Re: Back Pain
May 30, 2013
Welcome to the board. One thing I've learned is that having a back/spine problem involves a learning curve.

When I first started with my issues, I went for the first time to physical therapy. That is standard treatment. I was a compliant patient and tried to do what I was shown or told. A few months later, I tried it again. I ended up having a one level lumbar fusion. My surgeon didn't routinely order pphysical therapy post surgery, but I knew from reading on boards like this, that "most" seemed to be sent to PT post surgery, so I asked among my acquaintances who had back problems and the name of one physical therapy clinic came up several times. I asked my surgeon if I could go there.

After my first week of treatment, I was just astonished at the difference a therapist could make. This particular clinic specialized in spinal rehab and only accepted spinal-related cases. I realized that I was being given many of the same standard exercises as I had had previously, BUT the instructions were completely different and it made a HUGE difference. It was the difference between lifting a leg three feet off the mat vs learning to control one specific muscle, even if I was moving the leg an inch or two. I realized I had been using the wrong muscles all the other times I had had Pt...which made the exercise easier but useless! The sad part was that the physical therapists did not realize there was a difference...and one led to success and their method did not.

This is a long way of telling you that there are tons of physical therapists, but it is difficult to find a really good one who will help you. Just as with chiropractic, you can be hurt by physical therapy...I know a couple spine surgeons who do not routinely send patients for therapy post surgery because, in their opinions, it often causes more harm than good.

If I were in your position, I would not repeat the experience with that new PT. Find out ahead of time who will be treating you and refuse to go if you are assigned to that guy again. Look for a new clinic if they are not willing to accommodate you. When you ask a PT to stop, he should comply and should listen to you. This is not some gym where they tell you "No pain, no gain." Sometimes when being sent to PT for the first time, the patient doesn't even have a proper diagnosis and the therapist doesn't really know what might make a condition worse. Particularly if you have sciatic pain, you do not want to continue to aggravate it as it can become chronic.

You may need to call the prescribing physician and explain the situation if the PT clinic will not listen to your concerns...but don't let the therapist hurt you. It is NOT a component of the treatment!!

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