Why Your Doctor May Not Recommend Physical Therapy

By Dr. John De Noyelles

There are many instances with common orthopaedic conditions in which a physician (MD) may not suggest physical therapy.  They may even say you shouldn’t go… and I can’t blame them. Many patients have returned to their physician in worse condition after weeks of physical therapy.

Why is this? 

Standard physical therapy, at times, may consist of aggressive stretching, inappropriate strengthening, and performing the same exact activities 2-3 times per week for 6 weeks.  There is little to no consideration for addressing why patients are in pain to begin with.

After weeks of wasted time, no improvement, a physician will think twice before sending another patient with that same condition to physical therapy.  If a physician wants the best for the client, then why send them somewhere that is perceived ineffective or even detrimental?  

Good therapy addresses the root cause of the problem, adjusts and modifies treatment and exercises based on response and progress, and keeps open communication between the patient, referring physician and therapist.