Today was a physical therapy day. It’s an interesting thing, physical therapy. When I first started researching hip replacements, it seemed like every article I read put a heavy emphasis on the importance of PT for a good recovery. When I was ready to see my surgeon and schedule a date, I already knew that he didn’t prescribe pt for his hip patients.
I was concerned about this. Every medical professional who I spoke to for surgeon recommendations put this doctor at the top. I have an acquaintance who has had both hips done by this same doctor in the past year, and he has only good things to say. Did he get pt? No. Did it hurt him not to have it? Can’t see how it has.
I decided that I would cross the pt bridge later. If necessary, I knew my osteopath would order it for me. If the exercises the surgeon sent me home with worked, then so much the better.
As it turned out, I never kept that appointment, for unrelated reasons. And then I went to a talk given by that surgeon’s partner. I was suitably impressed with what he had to say, and even better…he supported pt. So I scheduled with him and haven’t looked back.
But I am seriously wondering about the whole pt debate, and I’m getting a better understanding of both sides. Did you know that in England, pt is never routinely prescribed? Hip and knee patients go home with a set of exercises to do on their own. And they all recover just fine, unless there are totally unrelated problems that interfere with a successful replacement.
Here in the United States, we have made pt an important and integral part of any movement disorder. I’m sure there are plenty of horror stories about how pt made things worse instead of better. What should help in theory is still dependent on the individual therapist to administer just the right way, in just the right amounts. It is hardly an exact science, but neither is it quackery or a waste of time.
I wanted pt for this surgery. I knew that if I went home with a list of exercises, I would dutifully perform those exercises exactly the way my instructions told me too. Not a rep less. Not a rep more. If my form was off a little, I wouldn’t know. If something hurt, I would slack off on that exercise. I might skip a day here or there. And here. And there.
Last week, I had pt three times. On Tuesday, they did an initial evaluation, and then ran through various exercises for me to do at home. On Thursday, I had a full session….50 minutes of my exercises; 30 reps each. Except the leg lifts….they are the hardest thing for me; I could only reach 15. I came home on Thursday feeling great. Energized. I woke up on Friday still feeling great. This recovery stuff was piece of cake. Then I went to pt again.
Holy cow! Was it because I did it two days in a row? Was it because it was too much too soon? Was it too many reps? Was 50 minutes at a time too much? By Friday evening I felt like I’d been hit by a truck. Both legs hurt. Muscles felt shredded. Pain was at the highest level since surgery.
Saturday wasn’t much better. On Sunday, most of the pain had backed off, and I could at least take some longer walks. Monday was one of those lethargic, sluggish, sleepy days….I did a few of my exercises, without much enthusiasm.
However, today I woke feeling fine. Full of energy. Little pain. I went to pt, and let my therapist know how concerned I was, and that I felt we needed to back off the intensity a bit. He was very receptive, and then we did my session. I knocked off my 30 leg lifts even though I kept claiming I was not going to even try that many. Go figure. It’s now evening, and I still feel fine.
So did pt last week hurt me? Set me back? I’m doing so well….would I be this far along if hadn’t been having outside pt? Unanswerable questions. But certainly important ones to stay attuned to.