Can Physical Therapy Do More Harm Than Good?

Find out if physical therapy can do more harm than good from an expert's perspective! Learn about common treatments that usually aren't helpful & how to avoid injuries.

Can Physical Therapy Do More Harm Than Good?

Much of what happens during physical therapy visits, especially exercise and practical therapy, can help increase strength, restore flexibility, and stabilize joints. However, some techniques are not backed by sound science and may even do more harm than good. The quick and simple answer is “No”. During physical treatment, there should be no pain.

Physical therapy patients often fear that their discomfort will worsen as a result of treatment. The expression “without pain there is no gain” may be familiar to you and, while catchy, it can contribute to a harmful mindset. It also causes people to hesitate or stop physical health changes because they are afraid of the discomfort they may feel. Interestingly, while it means that physical therapy can lead to a traumatic experience, the opposite is true.

It's much more likely to worsen injuries and prolong the discomfort and pain you're already feeling if you avoid care at a physical therapy center. Many of us have benefited from something called Bowen therapy, others haven't, so it's definitely an option to try it out and see what happens. If it helps, you'll notice the difference no later than in 3 sessions, often after the first. It's a very gentle physical therapy, and while you may feel worse before you feel better, it won't be the same way a physical therapist makes you feel sick.

It was an integral part of staying upright and mobile during the 5 years I had PMR and without a wall. I didn't do much with the PMR, but it fixed some of the add-ons and relaxed me, like a spa day. However, some physical therapy treatments are not helpful. They can make symptoms last longer and even cause new problems.

Instead of searching the Internet for information, you should seek the expertise of a physical therapist to get a personalized and effective intervention plan. As part of the Choosing Wisely series, the American Physical Therapy Association has listed five common treatments that usually aren't helpful. Regardless of the therapist's experience, training, or environment, whether in elite sports or in the average NHS outpatient department, I see and hear many therapists doing weird and quirky things with their patients instead of doing nothing. You're more likely to experience major injuries and discomforts that increase rather than decrease if you choose not to see a physical therapist and instead create your own recovery plan.

Physical therapists offer patients personalized programs to develop muscle strength and endurance, gain joint range of motion, heal soft tissue, regain mobility and many other forms of physical healing. But sometimes this desire to help and do something can be detrimental to the people they are trying to help, and inadvertently, therapists may be doing more harm than good to many of their patients. Although the incidence of medical negligence in physical therapy is low (approximately 2.5 cases per 10,000 active therapists each year), errors sometimes occur that can result in more injuries. The licensed physical therapist observes your walking pattern and recognizes that your lower back pain is the result of weak leg muscles and a slow gait.

Your therapist will need to see that you are open and honest to adjust your treatment plan to reduce any discomfort or pain.

Physical therapists

recognize that performing effective exercises with the wrong technique can mean another serious injury. Before I knew it, the therapist who was doing my intake had my ankle and foot in his hand and was pulling my foot back as far as I could push it. This is a commonly known fact, and 76% of American adults report regular physical activity.

Relying on the wrong information for your home physical therapy program will delay your recovery and may cause additional injuries. Physical therapist Matt Mikesh from Somers Orthopaedic Surgery & Sports Medicine Group offers advice on exercises that may do more harm than good.