There are a few things that we hear constantly from our patients. I am not sure where they came from or why they believe them to be true, but here are three of the most common ones:
“I am not bad enough to need physical therapy”
This often delays the start of physical therapy. A 2017 study involving 472,000 people who were diagnosed with low back pain, showed that people who began physical therapy within 15 days of being diagnosed had better outcomes and incurred significantly less overall treatment costs than those who waited. Instead of “I have tried everything else, I guess I will try physical therapy” it should be “I am going to try physical therapy before opting for the more costly, more invasive treatments.”
No Pain, No Gain
We hear this one ALL THE TIME! It starts off by understanding that not all pain is created equal. We like to educate our patients about good pain vs. bad pain. Muscle fatigue/soreness that diminishes within 24 hours and light to moderate stretching discomfort are what we label as good pain. The bad pain AKA the type of pain that brought you to physical therapy in the first place is not beneficial. This type of pain usually means that the exercise or movement you are doing is irritating an already aggravated structure….which is not one of our intentions. Education and establishing good communication between therapist and patient is the key to decreasing the likelihood of this happening.
“I have arthritis and I know there is nothing you can do about that”
This myth has been debunked countless times by researchers. A 2015 systematic review of more than 50 randomized controlled trials (one of the highest levels of research) revealed that land-based exercise is 2-3 times more effective in reducing knee pain associated with osteoarthritis than medication alone. There is also many other positive long term benefits associated with exercise such as decreased frequency of falls, improved quality of life, heart health, and longer lifespan. Now, initiating a strengthening program with moderate to severe osteoarthritis is as much of an art as it is a science…something a quality physical therapist should be perfectly comfortable with.
If you have any more questions or comments about these myths, send an email to Justin Stiver, DPT, CSCS. Justin is the Director of Rehab for Total Therapy Florida www.totaltherapyfl.com.