While surgery is sometimes the only way to treat a physical condition, the more conservative approach is to first try physical therapy. If physical therapy eliminates your pain or helps you heal from injury, there may be no need for surgery. And, if you do need to undergo surgery, pre-surgical physical therapy can often put you into better physical condition to withstand the surgery, and possibly help provide a better recovery outcome.
Surgery and Other Invasive Procedures Carry Risks
The fact is, anytime an invasive procedure is performed on a patient, there are risks. Although the exact risks often depend on the exact type of surgery you are having, here are just a few general risks surgery exposes you to:
· Whenever your body is cut open, it exposes you to the possibility of infection
· Bleeding problems can occur during surgery
· Blood clots can be caused by surgery
· Occasionally, complications from the anesthesia may occur if the patient has a reaction to anesthesia drugs.
· Anesthesia can cause aspiration, or breathing food or fluid into the lungs. This can be serious.
· Anesthesia can cause elevated heart rate and blood pressure in some patients during surgery
Physical Therapy Benefits
Physical therapy has long been used as a conservative treatment before surgery is considered. Now, medical studies are showing that physical therapy can sometimes be as effective as surgery:
· Studies have shown that physical therapy can be as effective as surgery in providing pain relief for some lower back conditions, such as spinal stenosis.
· The New England Journal of Medicine published a study that found physical therapy to be as effective as surgery for treating meniscal tears and knee osteoarthritis.
· A study conducted at Thomas Jefferson University Hospital found that patients with degenerative disk disease responded as well to physical therapy as to surgery.
· Physical Therapy has been found to successfully treat patients suffering from carpal tunnel syndrome
As more studies are completed, many doctors believe physical therapy may provide a non-invasive method of treatment for many patients, allowing them to avoid surgery.
Physical Therapy Helps Your Body Heal Itself
Our bodies are designed to heal themselves of certain conditions, given the proper treatment options and nutrition. Surgery should rarely be the only treatment offered, unless it is an emergency situation.
Doctors are recognizing that physical therapy treatment plans are effectively helping their patients. Part of this is because treatment plans can be custom-designed for the patient’s individual goals, needs, and challenges.
As researchers discover the positive impact of physical therapy on patients’ conditions, instead of undergoing surgery, more doctors are recommending physical therapy, first, as a non-invasive, more gentle way of healing the body.
If you are considering surgery, and are looking for less invasive treatment options, contact the Tucson Orthopaedic Institute to schedule an appointment today. Visit one of our several area locations, to be examined by one of our highly qualified, board certified orthopedic surgeons. Our goal is to provide the most appropriate, least invasive treatment necessary for your condition.