Question:I started seeing a physical therapist for neck pain last month. I noticed there are several other neck patients being treated by someone else who are already better. They don't need treatment anymore. Am I doing something wrong? Should I see that other therapist myself?
Answer:Studies show that improvement with physical therapy for neck pain patients may have more to do with the cause of your problem than the actual number or type of treatment sessions. For example, patients with trauma-induced pain (for example, car accidents) may take longer to recover compared to patients with pain of unknown cause.
Patients with pain AND decreased movement also require more treatment when compared with patients who have neck pain but full motion. You may simply have a different kind of problem from the other patients who have already been discharged.
If you have been in treatment for a month without seeing any progress, then there is some cause for concern. But if you are making steady gains with decreased pain and increased motion or function, then you may be right on target for your particular problem.
If you have questions or concerns, it's always a good idea to bring them to your therapist. Your recovery will go faster and smoother if you have confidence in what you are doing and no doubts about your treatment.Dean A. Clair, PT, MMedSc, et al. Physical Therapy Treatment Dose for Nontraumatic Neck Pain: A Comparison Between 2 Patient Groups. In Journal of Orthopaedic & Sports Physical Therapy. November 2006. Vol. 36. No. 11. Pp.867-875.
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