Question About Physical Therapy.

Updated on October 24, 2019
T.D. asks from New York, NY
14 answers

I have attended 8 physical therapy sessions with little to no success.
After the 6 th one the pt assistant sent me home with stretch bands and instructions to do the entire therapy session at home. And told me the pt was not going to continue to see me. (This is also after addressing only one of my 2 problematic areas)
So is this normal? Normal to be sent home to continue doing the same stuff they had me doing that didn't work to begin with? Or is chick needing to be fired?

I was already scheduled for the 7th and 8 th sessions and saw someone different for those and that person did different stuff based on my complaints and questions. He is also willing to continue working with me but after the gal I had I am now skeptical of the place and therapy in general.

Sorry if this post makes no sense, I am stressed beyond belief! when it rains it pours.

ETA update after Dr appt : Went to my Dr again. They are referring me to a surgeon for the condition that they didn't think therapy would help. Which is also the condition that the therapist was working on. This Dr referred me back to the same therapy place and said I need to only work with the guy that's there. And no one else. And only work on the other issue. I am not against therapy. But it bothered me that she was quitting but at the same time telling me to go home and do the same stuff (the stuff that was not helping)!. I will be seeing they guy from now on. Even if it means missing work.

What can I do next?

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So What Happened?

I went in trying to have an open mind. The therapist did work on one of my conditions. The one that even the Dr said would probably have to be surgically fixed. The therapist ignored the other condition. She didn't do anything specific for it.
The other pt there did work the condition that can be fixed. And that is what the Dr even said. And sent me back to pt.
From what I am reading online in blogs and reviews it that pt is not like this. That they work the problems, send home a couple things (not everything they had been doing) And don't give up. I am going to continue but request the therapist that covered the vacation. I am firing the chick. But going to the other person at the same place because they listen and are still trying to help.

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answers from San Francisco on

Did you ask them WHY the first therapist no longer wanted to see you, or WHY she wasn't addressing the condition you say she ignored?
I have no experience with PT but I'm pretty good with asking questions, especially in a medical setting.
Good luck, this must be so frustrating!

2 moms found this helpful

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answers from Atlanta on

Sounds like you came to a good resolution--work with the physical therapist whom you click with better and whose techniques seem better suited for the issues. Hope that the exercises start to work and that you start seeing good results soon!

ETA: Marda's very thoughtful response based on her numerous experiences with PT seems right on target. It will take lots of commitment on your part to keep doing the exercises even though you won't feeling any improvement for quite a while. Wishing you lots of patience and persistence!

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answers from Portland on

ETA - Glad you spoke to your doctor. I think seeing ONE Pt is the way to go. I think it's just too confusing otherwise. Also, sounds like this other person was not invested or not the best, but I hope the instructions from doctor are more clear (on what to focus on). Seems to me, if one issue is not as likely to be helped by PT, then hopefully exercises/stretching will focus on what can help. Good luck and keep us posted :)


I've not had that happen. Nor has my husband, or anyone I've known. So I don't think so.

However, I've not had them say you're going to have x amount of sessions either - unless that's how your insurance works (like you have a set amount I'm guessing for your plan).

The thing is, I can see them giving you specific exercises, and then it's up to you to do them, and if they are not working, then they might not be able to help you beyond that.

I would say that's when you go back to your doctor?

I have a problem with a joint that cannot be addressed with PT. I went, did the exercises, but it's beyond physical therapy. It was frustrating for both of us I think. We kind of decided together that it wasn't improving.

I went back and told my doctor.

There are some conditions that can't be improved in physical therapy.

I think it should be a joint decision between the PT and the client. You have to have a good relationship. That's key. Also - they should be communicating clearly with you.

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answers from Washington DC on

They are saving themselves the time. You're NOT into it. You're NOT trying and your attitude shows it. They can tell by the way you are reacting and behaving and maybe even the words you are saying that you don't want PT.

The THERAPIST doesn't need to be fired. She, in essence, fired YOU.

You went in to this with a bad attitude. It showed. She doesn't want to work with you. Why should she waste her time on someone who is negative about the therapy? You've been skeptical from the beginning. You've had a bad attitude from the beginning. It's REALLY easy to see. You just don't see it.

Your physical therapist fired you. Yes, They do that. I've seen it. They don't waste their time for someone who isn't going to work with them and WANT to get better.

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answers from Norfolk on

Sometimes a doctor is not a good fit - and that can happen with a physical therapy place too.
You need to find a different place.

'7 Signs That You Should Find a Different Physical Therapist '
to find a good article.

Links don't seem to be working anymore - and that's probably a good thing.

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answers from New York on

If we have clients that do "research online" rather than trust us, we drop them. No amount of internet research can take the place of years of education and practice, and clients who do that cause us nothing but trouble.

If you aren't willing to trust the process, the process will never work for you.

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answers from Minneapolis on

You have had several posts about PT and I’m not exactly sure what you are looking for. PT is a tool that can help a lot of conditions. It is normal to have a series of appointments and then to follow up with home exercises. It is expected that you will take part in your own healing by working with the therapist both in session and at home. It will not solve all of your problems but can be a helpful component in increasing your function and comfort.

Perhaps a consultation with another therapy practice about what PT can do for you is appropriate. No, trying to get someone fired is the wrong thing to focus your attention on.

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answers from Louisville on

Pt is not a short term thing normally it’s months. A lot of times they will do once a week check ins and you do the exercises at home

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Washington DC on

all physical therapists are not created equal.

i've been to one who is a genius, but even he wasn't able to address one problem i've had.

i've been to about three others who did little or nothing.

it's a very hazy field to start with, so finding a therapist who is experienced, effective and jives well with you personally can take some time.

keep looking. expect that you'll have to reject a few.

it's difficult and disheartening when you're suffering, i know. i hope you find the right one soon. good PT is simply wonderful, if hard to find.


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answers from Santa Fe on

I have been to PT off and on for MANY years! I have some pretty bad back problems and last year I was also dealing with a knee problem. I have found that every single PT place and each person at them are all extremely different! Some are better than others. For my back I have found long term PT to be very helpful. I also found it very helpful for my knee, which was much quicker. But sometimes surgery is the very best thing you can do. Yes it is strange she told you to go sounds like you two clashed/did not get along/rubbed each other wrong (???). I do get discharged after I use my alloted PT that insurance allows me to have a year and then I either pay for it out of pocket or I do the exercises I was given at home till the new year begins again.

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answers from Philadelphia on

I have a physical therapist I love! He successfully treated me both times as I recovered from knee surgery. However, he was as frustrated as me when he was unable to help me with an ankle issue. He sent me back to my doc and told me to tell him there was nothing else he could do for me. He didn't want to waste my money. I appreciated him just as much for telling me.

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answers from Portland on

I've had physical therapy several times. I see the physical therapist for a set number of times. The therapists teach me, then releases me to continue on my own. Twice they have given me bands to use so I can strengthen certain muscle groups. I've not heard of anyone with a skeletal problem who has stayed in therapy for a long time. Our skeleton relies on our muscles to keep it in line. The purpose of physical therapy is to teach you how to help yourself. Insurance plans usually limit the number of visits.

If I remember right you are self paying for therapy. Of course you want instant results. You are unhappy because you believe that therapy is going to show results in a few weeks. I suggest that the therapist is trying to help you to strengthen muscles so that eventually you may feel LESS pain. Eventually, after months of doing the exercises. Your condition has been there for years. It won't go away in a couple of months. Exercises and following their advise may reduce the pain. There is no guarantee.

I'm glad the new therapist is also addressing the issue you believe is the most important. He will get you started on exercises but he also will release you to continue at home after a few sessions. Physical therapists are teachers. They will not continue to treat you until the pain is lessened. It is your responsibility to take care of yourself.

I've had several whip lash injuries. Now I have arthritis in my neck. I'm never pain free. I stopped the exercises. I've slipped back into lifting heavy things. My pain has increased. I saw my doctor who gave me a list and description of exercises for me to do at home. It's been 2 weeks and I haven't started them. Doing the exercises takes strong commitment. I know I must do them. It's easier to not do them.

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answers from Atlanta on

I think you're looking for a "instant cure" and PT is NOT an instant cure. It can take MONTHS to fix ONE THING. If you're looking for a fast fix? Then you should do surgery. But you'll STILL be doing PT AFTER surgery to get the strength back up.

This particular Therapist fired you. She saw that you weren't "all in" and decided to save herself some time and effort and make room on her schedule for clients who DO want to get better.

Sometimes, people focus on ONE issue first, then the next. Trying to fix it all at once isn't always the best route. Maybe the two of you lacked communication skills? That's possible. It's possible your personalities just didn't work together. Find someone else. Or see if the other Therapist you liked is available.

Good luck



answers from Miami on

It could be an insurance issue. Double check that...

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