Frequently Asked Questions
Physical Therapy Questions
- I’ve tried physical therapy before and it didn’t work. What is different about your office?
- Should I go to a chiropractor?
- I am unable to perform the exercises that my physical therapist gave me because it increases my pain. My therapist told me I need to push through them to get better. Is the NO PAIN, NO GAIN the only option?
- What should I wear to my appointment?
- What should I expect during my first visit?
- What if I am sore after my treatment?
I’ve tried physical therapy before and it didn’t work. What is different about your office?
There are many different types of physical therapists. Some focus predominantly on gym and exercise training and offer very little hands on treatment. Some focus on modalities such as heat, ice, ultrasound, electrical stimulation and whirlpool. These treatments may be effective for some people.
We have found that with our manual therapy techniques, we can achieve better results in a shorter period of time than with machines modalities, and by feeling the changes during the treatment, we learn more about the condition and your needs. We also are able to trace the injury to its source more easily.
For example: I once treated a man presenting left hip pain after a basketball game. The first treatment focused on relief of the hip pain with manual therapy, and giving his gentle stretches to improve his mobility. The pain was relieved only temporarily. At the second visit, I spent more time assessing the whole lower body and observed a significant problem with his left ankle. He had sprained his ankle in high school, but it had healed with poor positioning. This put excessive stress on his left hip causing stress and pain. After treating the left ankle, he did not require further treatment and the hip pain resolved.
Should I go to a chiropractor?
Chiropractic care can be very helpful when recovering from a spinal joint pain/injury. The chiropractic adjustment achieves different results from a physical therapy joint mobilization. A P.T. usually nudges or stretches the joint through its normal range. This can help with alignment and pain reduction. The chiropractic adjustment stretches the joint beyond its normal range to create a neuromuscular release and change. It can create a spontaneous muscle spasm relaxation which can be temporary or permanent. If however, you are having more pain with chiropractic adjustments or need more frequent chiropractic treatments, I would discontinue chiropractic treatment and attempt an alternate treatment. I feel that 75% of the time, the P.T. treatment achieves good results with joint mobility within three visits. If improvement is not made within three visits, or I feel chiropractic treatment would achieve relief more quickly, I will frequently recommend seeing a chiropractor in conjunction with our office treatment. Unfortunately, chiropractors do not usually address the soft tissue aspects of the injury. They also rarely spend much time instructing you on postural instruction or a comprehensive exercise program to assist in your independence. A combination of both chiropractic and physical therapy may be the best rehab for some conditions. Also some insurance plans have maximum dollar amount per year for physical therapy as well as for chiropractic care. This might be the best way to stretch out your allotted money for rehab.
I am unable to perform the exercises that my physical therapist gave me because it increases my pain. My therapist told me I need to push through them to get better. Is the NO PAIN, NO GAIN the only option?
Pain is your body telling you that something is wrong. It’s a warning signal. In some cases (usually fibromyalgia or other connective tissue disorders) it is necessary to experience some pain with exercise. However, in most situations, pain should not be produced with your exercises. I can’t imagine trying to motivate yourself to do something that hurts you. With treatment prior to performing the exercises and close supervision to assure that your execution of the exercise is correct, you should have no pain with the exercise program. Sometimes supports such as towel rolls or pillows may be necessary if your muscles aren’t strong enough to perform the exercise correctly.
The most common issue is found with women (more frequently than men) performing abdominal strengthening. Usually if the abdominals are very weak, the deeper muscles (iliopsoas muscles or hip flexors) are so tight that they will dominate the exercise. Without treatment to the hip flexors, you may never achieve an adequate contraction of the abdominals and this will create lower back pain and over usage.
What should I wear to my appointment?
Loose clothing is usually recommended especially when your pain is in your hips or lower leg. Jeans can bind causing poor evaluation of hip flexibility and difficulty assessing tissues through them. Yoga pants work great for ladies and sweats or shorts work well for men.
What should I expect during my first visit?
The initial visit consists of a thorough evaluation where a therapist will assess your,
2. Movement/Range of Motion
4. Joint mechanics/stability
The therapist will then educate you on their findings and initiate a corrective exercise program that will slowly dismantle your dysfunctions and build new proper flexibility, movement and strength. This usually takes about an hour, subsequent visits are usually 45 minutes.
What if I am sore after my treatment?
Soreness can happen after treatment. When muscles are in a contracted state blood flow cannot bring oxygen or clear metabolites, as a result, waste products can congregate around this dysfunctional area. If/when this area regains flexibility/mobility soreness can be accompanied especially when the dysfunction has been chronic. Ice/heat can be beneficial if the soreness is bothering to you. Please tell your therapist about your experience, usually it can take a visit or two for the therapist to learn what your body can and cannot handle. We also have several therapists who are more gentle and can be requested when scheduling your next appointment.
Does acupuncture treat only the symptoms?
Acupuncture has the ability to re-pattern the body, which can make long lasting or permanent physiological changes. These changes are designed to reduce the symptoms and to address the root cause of the problem. If the root of the problem is treated, the symptoms will not return or be reduced. Some conditions that are more chronic in nature may be treated on a regular basis and the goal is pain management or the reduction of pain.
Is Acupuncture Safe?
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved acupuncture needles for use by licensed practitioners in 1996. The FDA requires that sterile, nontoxic needles be used and that they be labeled for single use by qualified practitioners only.
Relatively few complications from the use of acupuncture have been reported to the FDA in light of the millions of people treated each year and the number of acupuncture needles used. Still, complications have resulted from inadequate sterilization of needles and from improper delivery of treatments.
Your Acupuncturist should use a new set of disposable needles taken from a sealed package for each patient and should swab treatment sites with alcohol or another disinfectant before inserting needles.
Is Acupuncture Treatment Painful?
While there is some discomfort, acupuncture needles are very fine and thin. Unlike injection needles which are many times thicker, most people do not find it painful. Rather, the sensation of inserting the needle may resemble a slight prick or sting.
What Can Be Treated With Acupuncture?
An acupuncturist may be consulted for specific symptoms and conditions such as pain, anxiety, arthritis, asthma, migraine, menstrual disorders, intestinal disorders, addiction and a many other conditions.
The World Health Organization (WHO) has listed the the following conditions as being responsive to acupuncture treatment:
Upper Respiratory Tract disorders such as Acute sinusitis, Acute rhinitis, Common Cold, Acute tonsillitis
Respiratory System such as Acute bronchitis, and Bronchial asthma (most effective in children and in patients without complicating diseases)
Disorders of the Eye such as Acute conjunctivitis, Central retinitis, Myopia (in children), Cataract (without complications)
Disorders of the Mouth such as Toothache, post-extraction pain, Gingivitis, Acute and chronic pharyngitis
Gastro-intestinal Disorders such as Spasms of esophagus and cardia, Hiccough, Gastroptosis, Acute and chronic gastritis, Gastric hyperacidity, Chronic duodenal ulcer (pain relief), Acute duodenal ulcer (without complications), Acute and chronic colitis, Acute bacillary dysentery, Constipation, Diarrhea, Paralytic ileus
Neurological and Musculo-skeletal Disorders such as Headache and migraine, Trigeminal neuralgia, Facial palsy (early stage, i.e., within three to six months), Pareses following a stroke, Peripheral neuropathies, Sequelae of poliomyelitis (early stage, i.e., within six months), Menieres disease, Neurogenic bladder dysfunction, Nocturnal enuresis, Intercostal neuralgia, Cervicobrachial syndrome, Frozen shoulder,tennis elbow, Sciatica, Low back pain, Osteoarthritis, pre and postoperative pain, Knee, Joint, Leg pain, Cramps, Tingling and Numbness, Carpal Tunnel Syndrome
Emotional and Psychological Disorders such as depression, anxiety, schizophrenia
Infectious Diseases such as hepatitis, pulmonary tuberculosis, influenza, epidemic parotitis, poliomyelitis
Skin Disorders such as urticaria, eczema, acne, alopecia areata, seborrheic dermatitis, neurodermatitis, vitiligo, chloasma, cutaneous pruritus
Addictions such as alcohol, nicotine, drugs, sugar
The most common uses for acupuncture in the West include: Pain Management, Asthma, Drug Abuse, Alcoholism, Smoking, Stroke, Gastrointestinal Disorders, Gynecological and Obstetric Problems, and Sexual Problems.
How Long Should My Acupuncture Treatment Last?
Since each person is unique, the number of treatments needed will vary. The total number of treatments required to effect change in a condition varies dependent upon the condition or disease, and it’s severity, whether it is chronic or acute, the frequency of the treatments and your vitality as a patient.
Consultation with an experienced practitioner will offer the best guide for the length of treatment.
Are There Any Circumstances Where Acupuncture Is Not Recommended?
There are very few situations where acupuncture is not advised. These are the most common:
If the patient has a hemophilic condition
If the patient is pregnant certain acupuncture points and needle manipulations should not be used during pregnancy
If the patient has a severe psychotic condition or is under the influence of drugs or alcohol
What Will Happen At My First Visit?
Acupuncture is no different than any other form of medical treatment. During your first visit, your acupuncturist will record basic biographical information about you, and will then diagnosis you using the four examinations of Traditional Chinese Medicine. These include:
2. Listening and smelling
Once the diagnosis is complete, the practitioner will discuss your treatment, and you will have an opportunity to ask questions.