Physical Therapy hasn’t worked for me in the past, why will this be any different?

Date Published: December 27, 2022

To understand why physical therapy didn’t work for you in the past or why you didn’t achieve your goals, we must first explore what makes for successful treatment. This has previously been addressed in our “What is Physical Therapy?” blog, which goes into significantly more detail regarding our treatment approach and philosophy at Accelerate Physical Therapy as to what leads to improved outcomes and faster recovery from injury.

From a general standpoint, your physical therapist is the only qualified individual evaluating your functional ability EVERY session to appropriately progress treatment. Consider your functional ability a combination of what you are and are not able to do, how specific activities or movement affect your pain, as well as the varying levels of severity of your specific injury. We categorize functional ability into three categories: muscle performance, mobility and motor control. It is the physical therapist’s role to determine which, if any, of the three categories you are limited in. As this is determined throughout your treatment session, an individualized program consisting of manual therapy (hands-on), movement retraining, education regarding your condition, and exercise to reinforce specific movement patterns is created. We have found that clinics or therapists who fail to address and combine all facets of determining your functional ability have the least effective treatment and outcomes. This disparity amongst clinics and therapists is the primary driver for our business model and approach to care, as we do not utilize physical therapy assistants, aides, or other ancillary staff to assist in evaluation and treatments. We believe the physical therapist should be evaluating, treating and training all domains of functional ability as they are specifically educated to do so. If progression and regression are not routinely and accurately assessed then the client will be given activities that are either too challenging to perform correctly or too easy and can be considered a waste of valuable time.

Another reason may be the specificity of education and client’s understanding of physical therapy treatment. Much of physical therapy requires conscious thought and action to break habitual movement patterns which results in pain or movement dysfunction. If your physical therapist is unable to clearly communicate and teach alternative strategies to complete daily tasks, then repetitive injury to chronically irritated tissues will perpetuate symptoms. Your physical therapist must be able to listen and understand the barriers to your healing to appropriately provide intervention to stop the cycle.

An additional, yet less common reason for lack of success in physical therapy treatment is the nature of your injury (i.e. is it a functional movement related issue or a structural issue?). A structural issue or problem occurs when the anatomical joint, tendon, bone, muscle, or nerve is physically damaged enough for changes in movement strategy to have little to no effect on your symptoms. An example would be severe joint degenerative, a fully torn tendon (i.e. Grade III tear), and a fractured or broken bone. These structural injuries require more advanced treatment to remedy such as an injection or surgical intervention.

After discussing why physical therapy may have failed you in the past, we hope you have a better understanding of thorough physical therapy intervention as well as our treatment approach. Thank you for reading our blog and we invite you to reach out with any questions. Through the website, you are able to schedule an appointment online, call or text us, and email the company or our therapists directly.

Accelerate Physical Therapy – Newport Beach Physical Therapy Services

Physical therapy is one of the best remedies for pain management and resolution, and is the single best alternative to the use of medication, pain mitigation techniques such as injections, and more invasive surgical procedures. Contact us today to schedule an appointment with one of our physical therapists in a clinical setting, via telehealth, and through custom movement screens created for a specific activity or sport.

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Schedule a 45-minute one on one session with one of our Doctors of Physical Therapy and get started on your path to recovery.