Some FAQs concerning Physiotherapy- Part 2

For those of you who found FAQs helpful last week, some more FAQS……..

Physiotherapy vs surgery-which should I opt for?

Your doctor may best advise you, and in some cases, surgery may be the only option. However, it is common for doctors to suggest a course of physiotherapy as the first line of treatment-why? Because in many cases a course of physiotherapy may be sufficient to reduce or manage the symptoms that trouble an individual.

Physiotherapy is used to treat a whole host of conditions which may negate the need for surgery. An example of this is ACL ruptures, for those who want the surgery physiotherapy postoperatively is essential; but for those who do not want surgery, physiotherapy again is essential, but this time to strengthen the surrounding knee muscles to stabilise the joint in the absence of the cruciate ligament.

The purpose of physiotherapy in both these instances is to allow the individual to return to full and pain-free function.

In severe cases and some diseases, physiotherapy may not be helpful in reducing pain, however, the benefits of mobilising stiff joints and strengthening weak muscles will only assist in the post-operative recovery.

Take the example of a person with low back pain which may have been problematic for 1 year, they wish to seek surgery as a means of resolving this pain. Who do you think would fare better: an individual who has not moved his back for the last year or the individual who has been carrying out supervised exercises to keep the joints of the back supple and the muscles strong. In both scenarios, the tissue trauma as a result of the invasive nature of the surgery will cause the same amount of damage to the muscles, but in the latter example, the person’s muscles are more conditioned and should rehabilitate more effectively.

Can excessive spinal mobilisations damage my back?

Too much of anything is not recommended, however, based on the assessment of the physiotherapist, they will be able to determine which mobilisation is required, the intensity, duration and direction of its application. Any treatment modality comes with contraindications which the therapist will go through with the patient to ensure that the selected mobilisation is safe for that individual.

In addition, sometimes, some discomfort is anticipated, the therapist should always check that the procedure remains within a comfortable limit and does not cause further distress. Commonly the patient may experience and report an aching sensation or fatigue immediately after treatment or for the subsequent day, but this is normal and short-lived.

If you have any queries or questions – please be sure to ask!

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