Has Physical therapy helped anyone?

Discussion in 'Fibromyalgia Main Forum' started by michaele, Sep 12, 2003.

  1. michaele

    michaele New Member

    My rheumy gave me a prescription for PT 3 days a week for 4-6 weeks. She specified hot/cold therapy; ultrasound; aquatic therapy; massage; and therapeutic exercises. I went for the eval today and after a long discussion and questionnaire,(as well as a physical range of motion check, etc., I was given moist hot therapy on my shoulders and back; ultrasound on a few body parts, and given an exercise of sitting on a stool working on my posture and kind of pulling a pulley with my hands/arms moving it back and forth.

    Now-----one shoulder could not take the weight of the hot warm compress and had to be taken off; The whole thing took 2 hours and it wore me completely out. The PT told me not to really do much for the rest of the day, that this would wear me out.

    How does all this help me in the long run? The heat felt great on the one shoulder and back. The ultrasound felt nice. But------in MY (our) world, 4-6 weeks won't last long enough------this would have to be continuous! I am looking forward to the aquatic therapy next week, but then again, where do I find a heated pool? (from where I live, in a very rural area, the closest would be at least an hour away and a membership requirement!)

    What experiences do any of you all have with PT? My rheumy also told me that me not tolerating some of the PT would benefit my disability application process and could ultimately help me as far as that goes and she wanted to see if it helped me physically as well as demonstrate to the SS admin. that this is not rehabilitatible.

    Help!!! I need some advice.
  2. CreateHope

    CreateHope New Member

    When I was first diagnosed with FM 2 years ago, my doctor (not a rhematologist) gave me RX for PT too. I went to a physical therapist who had helped my mom, who doesn't have a chronic illness. BIG MISTAKE. The physical therapist said he'd helped people with Fibro get better, but the weeks that ensued were just exersises. No water, heat or ultrasound. Just reps with light weights, etc. Boy did that leave me in bad shape. The therapist had to half carry me out after one session. I wasn't even doing half of what he suggested! Like he wanted so many minutes on an exersise bike, and I'd only do half, if that. After a while it was pointless and far too painful. Half the time I had to leave my stick shift car there afterwards and find another ride home. Obviously if I had had a better FM support system I would've quit this before it got so bad. I was desperate to do anything that anyone with creditials said would help.

    HOWEVER, what you are doing is different. I have had a little water therapy and ultra sound which felt okay. However the therapists at that outfit weren't knowledgeable about FM, the ultrasound tech had never heard of FM, so I quit.

    Follow your body, especially it's delayed reaction. As I'm sure you already know, what feels okay now can be excruiating later, esp when it comes to active physical activity.
  3. Mikie

    Mikie Moderator

    Hot packs and massage are only temporary help, but the stretching and flexing exercises I learned have helped to keep my muscles strong and flexible even when bedridden (they can be done in bed). These exercises also help with pain.

    Adding light weights and stretch bands help too, but it is the simple flexing and stretching which help the most. Taking ibuprophen prior to doing exercise often helps with any pain.

    Love, Mikie
  4. tjlibby

    tjlibby New Member

    I had PT too. The water was great. Don't over-do-it. Teri
  5. Samsgram

    Samsgram New Member

    What helped me most was finding an Osteopathic Pain Specialist. Two in one you might say. He does PT with stretches and cold treatments but he is veeeery gentle. I am generally so relaxed when I leave that I am not sure I should be driving. I have been going to him for 7 years and he has changed my life. I take much less medicine and feel much better. He has taught me many exercises that I do myself. I no longer have to use a cane. I met a lady in his office the other day who was wheelchair bound when she started with him. I think finding the right combination of doctors is what works. Finally each of my doctors work together for a common goal. Making my life better!!! I have been on disability for 10 years and know of which I speak. I use a lot of supplements instead of meds. This works with my tired body instead of against it. God has been so good to me!!!! I think it is no mistake that all my doctors are Christian men and women. Hang in there! It takes a long time to find your support team and sometimes more changes have to be made along the way. You have to kiss a lot of frogs but then one day.....or one year.....Well, my pain specialist may not be Paul Newman (now you know my age) but he's very beautiful in my eyes.
  6. Juloo

    Juloo Member

    Abour four years ago I had an injury to my left shoulder (bone spur, bursitis). Along w/2 cortisone injections (yet another topic -- helpful, but disruptive), I had 7 weeks of PT. Pain entirely gone. This past spring, I started having similar pain in the right shoulder. After an MRI, the orthopedist wanted to do surgery for more bone spurs and a torn rotator cuff, but I wanted PT instead (really couldn't afford to do surgery unless it was a last resort). Had 3 weeks of PT, (one cortisone injection -- again disruptive) and pain entirely gone -- including flares on that side. PT-ist suggested I do the stretching exercises on both sides, then ice down every day. I also do back stretches that my chiropractor prescribed for lower back pain (which has gone and not returned).

    It is scary to see the word "exercises", but these are really gentle, and it doesn't take many repetitions. The PT-ist suggested taking it very slow. She explained that when we have chronic pain, we tend to 'protect' those painful areas -- as a result, muscles go unused and become weaker than others, throwing off our ability to use our body correctly and exacerbating pain. Strengthening (slowly!) and stretching help those unused muscles become stronger again. The ultrasound, heat, etc. help improve blood flow for healing, and the ice discourages inflammation after all the localized action.

    BTW, most of my exercises don't use any weight except for the weight of the limb. Some use stretchy bands for resistance, and those are available in different resistances.
  7. michaele

    michaele New Member

    Thanks for the advice and comments. I have been in PT for 2 weeks now and WOW----she started me on 15 repetitions of certain stretches and had to pare down to 5!! I had to cancel my 2nd session bec. I had OVERDONE it! But, we don't know, PT included, until it happens. So, I am getting into the water this week and am excited about it. I also found out I was using the wrong kind of cane. Folks, I bought a quad cane (the kind with the broad base and 4 feet on it) Well, I used it when I needed to, but it took FOREVER to get anywhere and my lower back hurt tremendously. In fact, I hurt worse using that thing than not! Well, my PT told me that is NOT the cane to use. She said she has only prescribed ONE quad cane ever and that was to a person who had a stroke and had very limited usage on one side. So, she tried me on a regular aluminum cane and I practiced and I love it! Bought one at Wal-Mart for about $13. It sure does help.
  8. michaele

    michaele New Member

  9. vnr27

    vnr27 New Member

    i guess it was not for everyone.val
  10. ranger

    ranger New Member

    Usually PT is helpful, when a person hurts their back or something. But with us, I think it's like putting a bandaid on. I went, several times for ultrasound, exercises, heat and even massage and a TENS unit. I was in greater pain the day after and the day after that. One day free and I had to go for another session. Twice a week and it was 45 minutes from my home. I'm not a big traveler anymore and with the pain they added, I decided to quit PT. I remember some stretches and exercises I was given and I still do them. I should more on a consistant basis. I think they just about used up all the visits that were allowed to me under insurance. I agree, that PT as instruction is fine, but to try and use it for FM is a waste of time. If you reinjure something, that's different. But come on...I can't go forever...so....I don't go at all anymore.
  11. Suekoo

    Suekoo New Member

    Pool therapy helped me a lot. Water was 90 degrees and so relaxing. The best part of my day was using the noodle wrapped around my underarms, weights on my feet and dangling that way in the deep end. There is absolutely no pain and I just wanted to stay that way for hours. Also, massage helps and ultrasound helped with my hips.
  12. Mar19

    Mar19 New Member

    Before I was officially Dx'd with FM I had been sent to PT many times. In the beginning of each round it wasn't too bad, the PT-ist actually stayed with me and made sure I did things right and not overdoing. After a few visits I would be left alone, and then would have my program upped every week or so. Of course I couldn't keep up, and no one was really taking care of me either. All that plus the fact that it would cost me a $10 co-pay 3x a week! Great deal, eh? I never lasted really long because just driving TO the place would take up most of my energy.

    What works for me is to do things by myself at home. I have a treadmill and a stationary bike (check classifieds, yard sales, and even the curb! People often get on "health" kicks and give up. You can get the equipment really cheap.) I also have light weights, a TENS unit, and I can apply hot and cold packs myself.

    PT works for an injury...at least it did for me. But for FM pain, it causes more harm than good.
  13. jadibeler

    jadibeler New Member

    I've been reading these posts with interest because my doctor wrote me a referral for PT, at my request. I'm hoping that I can get some help for my iliopsoas muscle, which seems to be the source of my worse lingering pain. The pain of walking or using my arms & shoulders goes away when I'm done.

    I know theraputic massage is the recommended treatment, but insurance won't pay for that.

    However, some of the stuff that the rest of you have had to do, is a little scary for me. I know I can't. Maybe I should just stop sitting at this computer all afternoon and half the night and do a little easy walking. . .

  14. darlamk

    darlamk New Member

    The PT I had helped me to learn some stretches to help with my cervical neck problems and also to slightly help with some of my hand and arm problms. It is also the best way to document by a health care provider how you tolerate the activity. I think it is worth it! I still do water aerobics as tolerated so my attendance does vary.