Every surgery, even "minor" ones carry risks. These include complications from anesthesia, blood clots after surgery, delayed healing of the incision, infection, and unintended damage to nerves or other organs near the surgical site. Some of these risks cause discomfort for a period after surgery and go away, but others can result in more serious or long standing problems. For some patients and conditions, surgery is a great treatment option, but with all the associated risks it is our opinion that the patient should try conservative management first.
For musculoskeletal problems like back and joint pain, sprains, and strains, seeing your PT before a surgeon can help keep you out of the operating room and get you back to life without surgery. Studies have shown that physical therapy can be just as good if not better than surgery for a multitude of conditions and carries less risk. Some examples would include rotator cuff tears, meniscal tears, spinal stenosis, low back pain, and osteoarthritis.
Physical therapy can't fix every problem, and for some patients surgery IS the best choice. However, research is showing that surgery isn't a cure-all, and is sometimes very risky. In most cases, starting with physical therapy is the right choice, and for many patients, PT is the only treatment necessary.
Check out our links below for information on how PT may be able to help you and your specific problem!
Our library of conditions.