Physical Therapy Session

My appointment wasn’t in a clinic, but in the hospital. I had to wear a hospital bracelet simply because I was on the premises. Weird….

I made my way through the maze of the hospital, down to the basement where I finally found the PT office. My physical therapist was nice but I don’t feel satisfied with the appointment. It was short–like 20 minutes maybe? She tested the strength and stability in my legs and said they were great. She tested my knee and my leg to see how bad the pain was.

It wasn’t that bad. Like I said in an earlier post, my leg hadn’t been hurting much so it seems to be healing. She asked me about my stretching routines and I showed her. She said I knew the right stretches to do and I should be doing them 30 seconds each. She gave me one extra hamstring stretch to incorporate into my routine.

She said that she didn’t think I had an IT Band injury. She said that it was an Overuse injury from Hood to Coast. She was surprised that my doctor had told me to wait 6 weeks before running. The physical therapist told me that I could run now as long as it didn’t hurt.

Hmmm.

Okay. I think I will go by my doctor’s advice over her advice. I think resting from running is what I need and I don’t feel confident in the advice the physical therapist gave me.

She also seemed to discount my massage therapist’s opinions on stretches I can do for my legs. I’m sorry but that offended me. A massage therapist may not be a medical doctor but my therapist is good. I’ve used him for over 5 years. He knows my body. He heals me. He’s also a MARATHON runner and knows the running injuries that can come with that.

She also did not take a look at the knee brace I bought. Nor did she know anything about the IT Band Wraps runners can wear. What the hell??

The physical therapist said she could do Ultrasound therapy and see if that helped me.

I’ve tried Ultrasound therapy once before. Years ago I had to see a chiropractor after a minor car accident and she did ultrasound. Honestly–I have no idea if it even does anything!

She squirted the cold gel on my leg and then massaged the areas that had given me pain.

“Ultrasound is high-pitched sound that people cannot hear. These high-pitched sound waves are sometimes used to treat muscle spasms and pain and to promote healing. Ultrasound may also act on the cells to promote healing. At lower intensities, ultrasound can have this healing effect without also heating the tissues. Excessive use of either the heating or non-heating properties of ultrasound can damage tissues.”

I’m willing to try anything at this point–so I did it. I couldn’t tell if it was working.

She finished up with the Ultrasound therapy and told me I didn’t have to come back for a few weeks unless I started having pain again. She said at my next appointment they can analyze me as I run on a treadmill.

The good news: I’m not having knee or leg pain. Three days of no pain now. Yesterday’s revelation that I could once again swim the breast stroke without pain was another good sign. If I just have an “overuse” injury and needed rest, that’s great news too!

QUESTION: Have you ever had physical therapy? Is my experience normal or weird?

20 Responses

  1. I had physical therapy 3x a week for six weeks last year because of my leg. To me, that seems like a really short appointment! My first appointment lasted at least an hour and he went through my history, asked a ton of questions, and did some stretching moves to see possible weaknesses and pinpoint the problem. He did give me ultrasound but he also massaged my leg for about 10 minutes, iced it and used electrotherapy after each visit.

  2. I think you have to go with your gut on this one. You know what you know, and you know the other people who have given you advice.

    I honestly can’t remember if I’ve done PT with all my massage, chiro, acupuncture, etc. Isn’t that weird that I wouldn’t remember? I *should* be doing it for my shoulder but I just haven’t been able to find the time.

    Have a great weekend! We’re off to the Mariner’s game tonight!

    1. Thanks Tiff. I am going to listen to my body–and my doctor–not the physical therapist. The whole thing left me feeling frustrated! Have fun at the game tonight! I still haven’t been to Safeco Field. I miss the Kingdome. πŸ˜‰

      1. Matthew has been in PT for a couple months now for various reasons due to past knee/ankle injuries. He goes to a great guy who knows his stuff and listens well. They used ultrasound therapy on his foot which completely eliminated the tendonitis. The best part is that they teach him different strengthening exercises and stretches that focus on treating the cause of the symptoms rather than the symptoms alone. It seems much more holistic than his Ortho doctor’s advice, which was to stay off it and if it and do surgery if things didn’t get better.
        Sounds like you might need a new PT that can provide better care! Good luck!

  3. I went to PT years ago for IT band issues. I did a combo of ultrasound therapy, massage, and foam roller exercises. What I found helped most (for any injury) is regular yoga. Since starting yoga (2X per week) I am injury free!

  4. I had really good experiences with physical therapy. And I really should get my back checked out…or get a massage or something. But I still do some of the exercies to this day!

  5. I am in physical therapy right now for a herniated/degenerated disc in my back. My first appt was an hour long and the entire thing was a history and eval of what I could and couldn’t do. 20 minutes sounds extremely short! I can’t say that PT is helping at this point (it may not be able to), but I love the staff I work with. They listen and are very knowledgeable about the types of pain that are good and the types that are bad. They are also very good at NOT causing more bad pain. Many times I can get more detailed advice/information from them then I can my doctor.

    IMHO- if you’re going to invest in therapy- find a new therapist!!!!

  6. I’ve never had physio for myself, but a LOT of people from my rugby team have and from what I understand, there’s a huge difference between what you get from the hospital or from a sports medecine clinic. What they tell me is that when you go to the hospital, the physical therapist is used to treating elderly people get back from hip fractures and the like. They tend to not know much about sport injuries and to downplay the need to get back to 100%. In sports clinics, they only treat athletes and know what you’re going through and want you to get back to your original shape, as much as possible. Personally, I trust my physio’s advice better than any doctor on this type of injuries because she’s a specialist in this.
    Ultimately, I think you should listen to somebody whose advice you trust.
    However, I’m from Canada, it might be different in the States!

  7. i’ve never been to physical therapy. who’s your insurance co? (if you don’t mind me asking)…
    i think with drs/medical people it’s important to find one that works for you. and it’s better to try a few than to spend time going to one that you’re not comfortable with.

  8. Wow! It sounded EXACTLY like my PT appointment (also at a hospital – Providence) last year. The one thing I took away from it was that at my second appointment, they did watch me run and confirmed that my stride/gait was good. I was not thrilled with them other than that.

    I started going to a SPORTS INJURY clinic this week and although I have no idea if it’s going to work, I feel A LOT more confident in them.

  9. if you’re not happy with it, change your therapist or change the clinic. it’s so important for you and the therapist to have a great relationship, which can help you in the long run. when you have a good relationship with the therapist, you will see the good difference in your condition. there are so many incompetent therapists out there. it seems like you weren’t giving enough of education from the therapist either. she seems like she knows it all and not really explaining to you anything. well as far as the massage therapist, if you have a fracture bone or anything bone-related and the massage therapist cannot touch you. the ultrasound helps relieve the pain and inflammation. sometime it works. it takes a few sessions though. keep us posted! btw, i’m new to your blog and i want to say congratulations on losing all the weight!! amazing accomplishment!

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