Should I Go to Physical Therapy If I’m in Too Much Pain?
By Tyler Guymon, DPT
Buckeye Clinic Manager and Physical Therapist
“I am going to cancel today; I am in too much pain to come in.” We hear this every now and then at AzOPT. During the course of your rehabilitation program, you may experience a ‘bad’ day, in which you have more pain than normal. Maybe it’s more pain associated with the condition you are being treated or it may be a different pain all together. Either way, you are forced into a dilemma – come to therapy today or cancel? Understandably, many patients will decide to cancel the appointment. In our minds, exercises and treatments will worsen the pain and make matters worse. It makes sense that if you are hurting, why would you want to hurt more, right? Wrong! My advice is to come to therapy!
Many patients may fear that their physical therapist will not listen and force them to complete exercises or activities regardless of the increased pain. While I cannot speak for every physical therapy practice, I can tell you at AzOPT, this simply is not the case. At AzOPT, we understand that you have bad days, and our treatment approach will change when this happens. We are educated and trained in many techniques and modalities to help alleviate pain and get you back on a track to function at your best. From ultrasounds, electrical stimulation, and hot/cold therapy to good ol’ fashioned manual therapy (think point-specific massaging), our therapists will do our best to help you feel better.
At times, a smaller amount of pain may tempt you to cancel your therapy appointments. However, we can make minor modifications to your treatment plan for the session. Maybe it is a change in position during the exercises, or a decrease in the amount of weight or resistance. There are many ways to modify the session to allow you to continue benefiting from therapy. We may even decide to postpone exercises for the session and focus on manual therapy and pain relieving modalities.
Remember, only a licensed physical therapist can change your treatment plans, not a tech or aide. At AzOPT, we only use licensed physical therapists to provide treatment to our patients; therefore, changes to your plan are made in real time. This is one of the many benefits of no techs, no aides, no assistants – only physical therapists. For more information on the AzOPT Difference, click here.
The best course of action before cancelling your appointment is to call your physical therapist. A quick discussion to explain your current condition and symptoms will allow the therapist to provide guidance and help you come to a beneficial conclusion. At the end of the day, we want to do what is best for you!