Physical Therapy: what's it like??

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  • 1 Post By SaraNoH

It's been prescribed to me and I will start it soon, assuming my copay is reasonable which I will find out tomorrow. If you've done it, what was it like, and how long did you need to keep it up? Did it help? Thanks so much in advance!
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I was in PT for a year after I broke my ankle and had reconstructive surgery on it...2-3 times per week. I needed to learn to walk again.

Personally, I found most physical therapists I encountered to be lazy and not take their job very seriously. They seemed to always be trying to hide when I needed them. Most gains were made by me without their help. Maybe it was just the place I went. I was supposed to attend for another year, but I dropped out because I didn't feel they were helping me anymore.


I'm not saying don't go. I'm saying, just watch them. If you aren't getting what you need, look for someplace else. Even co-pays that seem reasonable can add up. I was paying a $20 co-pay...2-3 times per week, 4 weeks per month...$160-$240/month. Not cheap.

Last edited by RedCatWaves; 04-30-2012 at 10:17 PM.
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I went for 6 weeks for my shoulder, twice a week. The first session they evaluated my injury and the second session they walked me through the exercises. After that I did the exercises in my own, but the therapist would set up the machines with the proper weights. At the end they would massage my shoulder and let me sit for 10 minues with an ice pack on my shoulder. I didn't use the electric stimulation gadgets (I forget the actual name, they put pads on the muscle and the stimulation makes the muscle contract).

The place I went to was more attentive than the one RCW went to. In the end I gained some strength and range of motion, but the pain didn't go away. The therapist said that PT doesn't always fix everything, which I thought was pretty honest. It was worth a try, though.

Since I had learned the exercises and belong to a gym, I did the exercises on my own for an additional 6 weeks.

The co-pays really add up. I was paying $30 which I thought was outrageous. Crappy insurance.

Now, when my husband messed up his back, PT helped enormously. He had tried massage, chiropractic and acupuncture and was still in a lot of pain despite taking a lot of medication. I finally convinced him to go with PT and it was the best thing he did. He did a lot of hamstring stretches and other stretches held for a long time. After PT he started doing yoga with me, since he noticed yoga had a lot of stretches that were similar to PT. His back is not perfect, but it's done quite well with yoga a few times a week.
I went for three months and will have to go again. I didn't get much out of it, honestly. I learned some new exercises I could do at home to strengthen my back and core, and that was cool. But most of was doing strange, unchallenging movements on equipment or for a few minutes in front of a mirror. The traction machine was downright scary and extremely painful...and was what made me just write the whole thing off as a waste of my time.

Gahhh, but I have to go back soon.

My injury was a BWC injury, so I don't expect to have any co-pays...can't really remember.
3b (with 3c tendencies) on modified CG

I have twice had trapped nerves in my back and went to a physio twice each time. They worked wonders. I saw different people each time (due to holidays etc) and all were good, would definitely go again if needed. Mine was only a minor problem though, I guess experiences differ with different issues.
3b in South Australia.
I had 2 sessions of PT: the first was for my back about 17 years ago; the 2nd was for my knees about 6 years ago.

I must say that both experiences were great. Definitely well worth whatever monetary costs I incurred.
Thanks for your replies! Sounds like people have had really varied experiences. And RedCatWaves, I could not have afforded those co-pays, wow! I hope I chose a good place. They claim I will have zero co-pay, thankfully. I'm excited to start, I really hope it helps. My initial appointment isn't until the 15th.

It's actually my psychiatrist who prescribed it, for depression, as exercise has been shown to help (and meds have not been doing much for me), but it's pretty hard to get a depressed person to exercise on their own. I really appreciate this psychiatrist's willingness to use non-drug treatments. I have physical issues the PT should help too, if it's weight-bearing, like osteopenia and abdominal surgeries from which I never regained all of my strength, both consequence of Crohn's disease.
Formerly Urbancurl.
Medium-high density, fine-medium, low-normal porosity, 3b/c, permanent color.
CG, no heat, combs, brushes, parabens.
Fall/Winter HG=Alba Botanica Soft Hold Style Cream.
Spring/Summer HG=MGA Sculpting Gel
Current fave LI=Madre Labs Made by Nature for Baby Conditioner.
Limit oils, butters, glycerin.
I had to do PT 2 times a week, for 3 months, for my shoulder. They assisted me non stop at first. Made sure my posture was correct while doing the exercises, etc... After I knew the routine they handed me stretch bands and let me get to it. At the end of every session I had a very relaxing 30 min session with ice packs and the tens unit. I enjoyed that so much, I bought one for myself. The exercises did help with pain, for awhile. I've since discovered my neck is the source of my shoulder pain so I wasn't really getting what I needed. Not PT's fault though. They were very nice and helpful ladies, IME. I honestly can't remember the cost but it wasn't outlandish with my insurance.
When I hear terms like "hipster" I think, who told cliques they could leave high school??

I had to do PT 2 times a week, for 3 months, for my shoulder. They assisted me non stop at first. Made sure my posture was correct while doing the exercises, etc... After I knew the routine they handed me stretch bands and let me get to it. At the end of every session I had a very relaxing 30 min session with ice packs and the tens unit. I enjoyed that so much, I bought one for myself. The exercises did help with pain, for awhile. I've since discovered my neck is the source of my shoulder pain so I wasn't really getting what I needed. Not PT's fault though. They were very nice and helpful ladies, IME. I honestly can't remember the cost but it wasn't outlandish with my insurance.
Originally Posted by Fifi.G
What is a tens unit?
Formerly Urbancurl.
Medium-high density, fine-medium, low-normal porosity, 3b/c, permanent color.
CG, no heat, combs, brushes, parabens.
Fall/Winter HG=Alba Botanica Soft Hold Style Cream.
Spring/Summer HG=MGA Sculpting Gel
Current fave LI=Madre Labs Made by Nature for Baby Conditioner.
Limit oils, butters, glycerin.
I had to do PT 2 times a week, for 3 months, for my shoulder. They assisted me non stop at first. Made sure my posture was correct while doing the exercises, etc... After I knew the routine they handed me stretch bands and let me get to it. At the end of every session I had a very relaxing 30 min session with ice packs and the tens unit. I enjoyed that so much, I bought one for myself. The exercises did help with pain, for awhile. I've since discovered my neck is the source of my shoulder pain so I wasn't really getting what I needed. Not PT's fault though. They were very nice and helpful ladies, IME. I honestly can't remember the cost but it wasn't outlandish with my insurance.
Originally Posted by Fifi.G
What is a tens unit?
Originally Posted by diaspora
A TENS unit is a small, portable e-stim device that you can easily use at home. You use it for sensory "distraction" of your nerves in your pain area, or to get small muscle contractions. You can wear those suckers all day long for nice "tingles."

It's sad that some of you have had negative PT experiences . I'm studying to be a PTA right now and my program really stresses patient comfort, safety, and effectiveness. There's some great things PT can offer, but then again there's those "burnouts" in every field which just put a damper on the whole thing. I hope your therapy goes well!
diaspora likes this.
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^ Yes, and sorry I didn't reply sooner. I pop in and out. Lol. It takes a moment to get used to, but it's wonderful once you do. One of the few things that has given me true relief from pain. And thank you. Your thread reminded me that I need to order more sticky pads for it.

And make that 2 times a week for 1 1/2 months. Curse my brain, or my iPhone. At this point it could be either. After I had a good work out with/on PT equipment, they sent me home with exercise sheets and stretch bands so I could keep it up myself. I worked with 2 or 3 different people, depending on the week, and they were all very nice.
When I hear terms like "hipster" I think, who told cliques they could leave high school??

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