Some FAQs Concerning Physiotherapy- Part 2

For those of you who found last week’s physiotherapy FAQs helpful, here are 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 is that so? A course of physiotherapy may be sufficient, in many cases, 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. For those who do not want surgery, physiotherapy again is essential. This time however, it is 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.

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

Take for example a person with low back pain that may have been problematic for 1 year. He/she wishes 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? The tissue trauma due to the invasive nature of the surgery in both scenarios will cause the same amount of damage to the muscles. In the latter example however, the person’s muscles are more conditioned and should rehabilitate more effectively.

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Can excessive spinal mobilisations damage my back?

The physiotherapist usually will not recommend too much of anything. After assessment, however, they will be able to determine which mobilisation is required. Factors in consideration include 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.

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

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