Author Topic: Is Physical therapy a science based treatment?  (Read 170 times)

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Offline Captain Video

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Is Physical therapy a science based treatment?
« on: February 14, 2020, 01:24:24 PM »
I had my first PT today for a pinched nerve. I have degenerative bone disease, it runs in the family.

I didn't think anything was actually happening at this appointment, rotate this, rotate that, does that hurt, 5 min of heat pad, send you on your way, what was the point of all that? I could spend less money on a masseuse and feel better afterwards. I feel no different, the heat pad was nice but I have one of those that is better than theirs.

This is at a well known hospital system (Emory) but I also noticed when watching the advertising screen shots that Emory seems to also promote acupuncture WTF 

The guy wants me back weekly for a few months and i'm not sure why, Perhaps he didn't do much because this was a first visit.  Im willing to try one more time but if its more of the same I will stop wasting my money (insurance money and copay, its not that bad)

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Re: Is Physical therapy a science based treatment?
« Reply #1 on: February 14, 2020, 01:32:07 PM »
I had my first PT today for a pinched nerve. I have degenerative bone disease, it runs in the family.

I didn't think anything was actually happening at this appointment, rotate this, rotate that, does that hurt, 5 min of heat pad, send you on your way, what was the point of all that? I could spend less money on a masseuse and feel better afterwards. I feel no different, the heat pad was nice but I have one of those that is better than theirs.

This is at a well known hospital system (Emory) but I also noticed when watching the advertising screen shots that Emory seems to also promote acupuncture WTF 

The guy wants me back weekly for a few months and i'm not sure why, Perhaps he didn't do much because this was a first visit.  Im willing to try one more time but if its more of the same I will stop wasting my money (insurance money and copay, its not that bad)

I think it depends a lot on the therapist you see.  There are exercises and stretches and exercises and stretches that a qualified physical therapist can teach you, and mobilization techniques that can increase range of motion, etc., as well as supervised strength training and just plain exercise for rehab purposes.  But a lot of woo has invaded it, from ultrasound and TENs to spinal manipulations and kinesiotape and even what amounts to therapeutic touch.

So...maybe?
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Offline Jeremy's Sea

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Re: Is Physical therapy a science based treatment?
« Reply #2 on: February 14, 2020, 01:36:06 PM »
hmmm I hadn't really considered the science based treatment aspect of it. I suppose pseudo-science worms its way into most things these days, but really with PT the onus is on you to get better. It isn't passive like most pseudo-science treatments and it's only as effective as the effort you're willing to put in. The exercises should strengthen the supporting areas around an injury and/or return range of motion if you keep with it. Most of PT is really just targeted exercises with some relaxation thrown in because that's also important in exercises.
I was a little skeptical to how much some of the exercises I was given would help me, but in addition to the self limiting nature of an injury it did help speed the healing process and got me over some bumps that were just going to be with me forever without the exercises.

I'd recommed you at least give it a go for a little while, especially if insurance is going to cover it.
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Re: Is Physical therapy a science based treatment?
« Reply #3 on: February 14, 2020, 07:37:04 PM »
I've had long-term recurring knee issues (partially due to my obesity I'm sure) and at some point I'll have to have them replaced (which will end my soccer riffing career).

So over the years I've gone to about half a dozen PTs. One actually in the hospital, most at their own offices. All of them seemed to follow science and had advance degrees. And the specific exercises each gave me certainly helped.

But at the same time I've seen some really questionable things. In one case the therapist used the same kind of skin tape that was used in the olympics a few years ago. They mentioned it on the podcast. When I asked she said that it had been shown effective in clinical trials, but I looked and found none.  Since everything else she did seemed to help (I went from crutches to walking without a limp in about 2 weeks) I went along. 

Then, last year I was doing PT in a very sophisticated office and I noticed they were doing "cupping" on some of their clients' backs. That's when you apply suction to their skin and it results in these coaster size "hickeys".

So WTF. These are all post grad PTs, who seem very sophisticated, science and medicine oriented, and they do good work.

But then out comes the woo!

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Offline daniel1948

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Re: Is Physical therapy a science based treatment?
« Reply #4 on: February 14, 2020, 08:02:20 PM »
I think physical therapy can go either way. I feel that PT for adhesive capsulitis (frozen shoulder) after surgery for my broken arm, helped me. The first therapist didn't seem to be helping. I discussed this with him and he suggested I try a different therapist in the same office. She used different methods, and while I cannot know if I would have gotten better without the PT, I think it helped a lot. They also gave me a lot of exercises to do at home, which I think also helped a lot.

On an earlier occasion, for a different issue, the PT had me do some stretching (which I think helped) and also did infrared and mild electric shock, which I don't think did any good. I still do the stretches.
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Re: Is Physical therapy a science based treatment?
« Reply #5 on: February 14, 2020, 08:51:59 PM »
My mother had a partial knee replacement in the Fall.  She has been going to physical therapy. They flex her knee in careful ways with the goal of increasing her range of motion, they have taught her exercises she can do at home or work, and they have her doing supervised time on a stationary bike. They also routinely measure her range of motion to track her progress. To me, everything they've been doing with her has sounded at least plausible.
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Re: Is Physical therapy a science based treatment?
« Reply #6 on: February 14, 2020, 09:35:15 PM »
Physical Therapy's legit.  It's successfully cured me of several issues over the years.

The courses I had, it was like one diagnostic session session followed by personal training sessions with very specific routines. 
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Re: Is Physical therapy a science based treatment?
« Reply #7 on: February 14, 2020, 09:39:00 PM »
Physical Therapy's legit.  It's successfully cured me of several issues over the years.

The courses I had, it was like one diagnostic session session followed by personal training sessions with very specific routines. 

But it's not all like that. I had a physical therapy session that amounted to therapeutic touch (I did not return). I've also been offered other nonsensense modalities. You have to find the right provider, or it can be as woo as chiropractic.
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