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What are the alternatives to physiotherapy? As you are here searching for alternatives to physiotherapy, I can probably assume that physiotherapy has failed you. You were not able to regain your prior muscle strength or joint movement. You had started physiotherapy to resolve your ailment but you did not get the desired or expected results after the treatment. Well, you are in the right place. I will describe here some of the possible pathways that you should consider if physiotherapy was not beneficial in helping you.
Most patients visit the physio therapist for one of the following reasons:
- Chronic pain ( mostly emanating from the musculoskeletal system).
- After trauma (mostly after the bones have healed after being in a cast for a long time. Such patients are seeking recovery of their muscular strength in the muscles that had atrophied either post-fracture or dislocation).
- After undergoing general, orthopedic, vascular, or orthopedic surgery to ensure full and quick recovery
The alternatives I would suggest are going to be based upon the specific reasons I mentioned above. These are just general options for you to consider. You should definitely make the final decision after a discussion with your doctor.
Alternatives to physiotherapy for chronic pain
The greatest failures in physiotherapy arise in patients who are suffering from chronic pain. Chronic pain is one of those conditions in which patients tend to get tired of the repeated treatments they have to undergo and decide to go seek alternative care. They also get tired of taking repeat pain medications to control their pain that never seems to go away.
Chronic pain due to mechanical causes
If you are facing chronic pain problems due to a mechanical or muscular cause or previous injury such as prior amputation etc. then you need to consult a physician instead. Going to your family medicine doctor can be a great place to start. If you are already diagnosed with a condition that is being managed conservatively, but you are not seeing any results then a visit to the same doctor is the most accurate step. Alternatively, if you are diagnosed with a mechanical condition then you can also consider visiting an orthopedic surgeon to guide you in your care. Some patients with chronic pain can be easily treated with minimally invasive surgeries that greatly improve their day-to-day life. If your pain is due to some trauma in the past, for which no treatment is currently available then you can also go and get a pain medicine consult. The PM&R physicians can better guide you in managing your pain in this scenario. Learn more about PM&R on the official website.
Chronic pain due to neuronal issues
Chronic pain due to nerve damage or avulsion can also be a very challenging task to encounter. Physiotherapy alone will not be able to benefit you alone. You need to consult with a neurologist to get the appropriate medications. You may also be advised nerve conduction studies etc. to figure out the details of the problem. Fully diagnosing neuronal issues will be very helpful when trying to manage them and you should definitely allow the doctor to perform detailed neuronal examinations and investigations. This is something you should consider if your condition is not improving with physical therapy.
Chronic pain due to vascular issues
Sometimes vascular issues can be the underlying culprit to chronic pain which many patients don’t realize. Physical therapists can sometimes also miss some vascular issues as the main cause of muscular pain. This usually occurs when patients go to physical therapists on their own without consulting g a physician first as they are afraid of insurance bills. This is an emergency situation in the acute setting but if it is chronic it can also be problematic as it could be either due to arterial stenosis or venular thrombosis/stasis. This can lead to a multitude of problems and can even lead to death. So if your limb is in chronic pain a consult with a physician is important.
Many people will come on this page to look for some alternative medicine or herbal alternatives to self-treat their illness. As a doctor, I strongly recommend using any uncertain treatments or medications as they may even be harmful and pose a serious threat to your health. There are countless cases of herbal treatments being prescribed to patients by quacks who then present in the ER with kidney failure. These herbal treatments are usually touted as trying to flush out the toxins from your body. But, in fact, these herbal medications are the actual toxins that can lead to dire consequences. Self-medication is dangerous.
Alternatives to physiotherapy after trauma
So, after trauma, if the physiotherapy prescribed is unable to fix the functional aspects of your problem you can go for either a physical medicine and rehab consult or a pain medicine consult. Both physicians will generally work simultaneously in a team effort to try to improve your functional state and help you become able to do routine tasks independently. This is especially true if you had an amputation that is in chronic pain with no apparent physical cause.
Alternatives to physiotherapy after surgery
If you were just prescribed physical therapy after surgery it is usually for an acute stage post-op, no need to worry. This is usually a temporary arrangement. If you underwent abdominal or orthopedic surgery and physical therapy was prescribed, it was only done to aid you in the post-op stage and get you back to your normal functioning state. Physical therapy can help in improving outcomes dramatically after surgery. For e.g. chest physiotherapy is usually prescribed after abdominal surgery to assist the lungs in expanding and to prevent them from developing atelectasis.
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