Do you ever feel as though nothing will ever help you get rid of your pain? Have you suffered for so long that you’ve just started to accept your pain as a burden you’re destined to carry? Many people feel the way you do, and these feelings are often compounded by the fact that everything you’ve tried has failed. Painkillers just cover up the issue, massages don’t work, hot packs only bring relief for a few precious minutes, and that brace… well… you’d rather get rid of it. But perhaps the worst thing of all is the fact that physical therapy has also not worked for you – you thought it would help you out of your pain, but it just left you feeling desperate.
This can be really, really tough. And, honestly, giving up on your healing journey may seem as though it’s the right thing to do. Here’s the thing, though, there is hope; there is a way to get rid of your pain – you just haven’t found it yet. What is it, you ask? Well, it’s physical therapy! Now, now, you just said it didn’t work, right? Alright… but what if you went to a restaurant and they overcooked your food? Would you swear off all restaurants forever? What if you read “Twilight” and vowed never to read another book about vampires again? Would you miss out on “Dracula” because of it? What about coffee? Is one bad chicory brew going to turn you off of cappuccinos forever? Of course not! So, why give up on physical therapy without ever broadening your horizons? You just haven’t had the right treatment yet!
Take a look at the following 6 reasons that may explain why your previous physical therapy session/sessions didn’t work:
1. The Root Cause was Never Found
A good physical therapist will work with you to discover the root cause of your problem- that is, the reason/beginning of your pain. If the root cause isn’t found and isn’t treated in the right way, you will never be rid of your pain and will never hope to regain mobility, strength, and independence in any meaningful way. Not having found or treated the root cause of your issue may indeed be why your previous physical therapy didn’t work. Spoiler- the root cause of your back pain, might not be your back!
2. There Were No Hands-On Treatments
You can’t just exercise your pain away. Your pain- whether acute or chronic pain- is associated with soft tissue dysfunctions- think muscle knots and trigger points. You need hands-on treatments that work with your soft tissue restrictions and joint mobility. If you’re therapist never worked on releasing your soft tissue restrictions, you will continue to have pain and discomfort.
3. Exercising in Vain
Your previous physical therapist may have said that you need to do more exercises, right? And that’s all good and well, but did they make sure you were comfortable and clearly understood the moves involved? Did they make sure you had good form? Most importantly: did they check to see if you were activating your muscles correctly? Did you even know it was possible to have good form, but still not activate the muscles correctly?!
If not, chances are you were doing the exercises in vain. You see, physical therapy training plans involve targeting those areas specifically giving you problems – generic plans just don’t cut it. Make sure you know what to do, how to do it, why you’re doing it, and when to stop – this is critical when it comes to a successful physical therapy treatment.
4. There was No Clear Plan for Recovery
Imagine buying a car, but you don’t know how to drive or even where you’re going! Well, physical therapy without a clear course of action or recovery plan is a bit like dressing up for the ball, but sitting on the sofa instead. It’s very important that your physical therapist has a clear plan AND explains that plan to you. You need to understand the process too! It’s imperative that my patients and clients understand WHY we are doing what we are doing- my clinic wouldn’t have the reputation for quality treatment without this system, and you should never settle for anything less.
5. They only Focused on the Current Complaint, Not Your Overall Health and Wellness
Besides knowing which stretches and exercises to do for a specific injury, a good physical therapist will always tell you that true healing takes a whole body approach. There must be a focus on the entire YOU. After the current pain is resolved, there MUST be a long term plan in place for you. You need the option of wellness visits to address any issues BEFORE the pain comes back.
6. You didn’t Choose the Right Physical Therapist
Choosing a physical therapist is critical when it comes to your healing process. Choosing Mister “A” because he’s quick and efficient isn’t always the best idea. Similarly, going for Miss “B” because she says nice things and gets through the session quickly is also a mistake. Diagnosing the root cause of the problem takes a lot of knowledge, skill, and inherent understanding of the human body. All too often, practitioners are rushed and overworked. They’re often overburdened due to insurance rules and regulations. This results in decreased patient care. I know, because I’ve been there.
I used to be part of what I call “corporate PT”. You know, the physical therapy clinic where the therapist sees 2-3 patients at the same time? And you know, the physical therapy clinic that uses physical therapy aides or technicians to show you exercises? What about that clinic that claims to value patient care, but they only give you a rushed 30 minute evaluation?
Those are tough places to work. And they are tough places for patients to get better.
So, there you have 6 reasons why your previous attempt at physical therapy failed. It’s not always easy to know how to choose a qualified, professional, hands on physical therapist – we understand that. But, at the end of the day, you need to feel comfortable, get the care you need, and have a plan tailored to you. You need to be given the attention needed to treat the root cause of the problem – permanently. If you are still unsure as to why physical therapy didn’t seem to work for you previously, then I invite you to give me a call, right now. I want to answer all your questions, and I’d be happy to discuss how you can move forward and make changes in order to make a difference and tackle your pain- for good.