While surgery can sometimes be the only solution to treat physical conditions, one of the most highly recommended treatments for pain management is physical therapy. Physical therapy can be a better option than surgery, especially for patients with complex conditions that impact their daily lives. Still, one of the biggest problems physical therapy combats is unnecessary surgery. Some studies have shown that overtreatment of conditions can cause unnecessary suffering and billions of dollars in unnecessary costs in the healthcare industry.
What Does Unnecessary Treatment Mean?
Unnecessary treatment, also called overtreatment, can arise from many factors, even ones that appear positive on the surface. Most often, concerns about malpractice can lead doctors attempting to treat pain to perform unnecessary tests to avoid missing key details in their patient’s health. Medical records can be hard to assess, and performing unnecessary tests can sometimes be used to help boost revenue and pay for expensive equipment. While advances in technology have made way for more accurate results, it’s also led to unnecessary demands for surgeries that present high-risk side effects if not performed correctly or under the right circumstances.
Finding new ways to treat patients with chronic health conditions means that we need to shift our focus from invasive surgeries and other procedures that produce harmful results and begin thinking about longer-term, more holistic solutions to pain management. One way to think about the potential for holistic solutions is to use an alternative, non-invasive methods as a preparatory stage for future treatment. Physical therapy often acts as a prep stage for patients requiring surgery to help strengthen their bodies, improve their flexibility, and help them adapt to their body’s needs. In some ways, physical therapy should be recommended to those who don’t require surgery.
Why You Should Choose Physical Therapy Over Surgery
Surgeries tend to have high risks, including potential bleeding problems, complications from anesthesia, and the possibility of infections. However, physical therapy is the first step patients should take, especially for conditions resulting from age-related damage or genetic conditions. As a conservative measure, it helps patients further assess their bodies in their ability to perform life-functioning activities and helps remove thousands of dollars in costs. Most of all, it provides various benefits for the patient, including:
- Pain Relief: For patients seeking out pain relief from a previous injury or disease, physical therapy has been shown in many studies to provide pain relief for conditions such as spinal stenosis, meniscal tears, and knee osteoarthritis.
- Promotes Bodily Healing: Physical therapy helps strengthen the muscles, promotes better endurance, improves balance, and gives the body greater flexibility. It encourages people to engage with their bodies physically and helps promote bodily healing through continuous exercise and use of the injured or diseased areas.
- Reduce Disease Symptoms: For those with genetic diseases such as carpal tunnel syndrome and degenerative disc disease, physical therapy can provide an alternative treatment that reduces the risks associated with surgery and help the body respond better to life changes such as diet and exercise.
Surgery presents huge risks, especially as cases of unnecessary treatment become more prevalent in today’s society. Ensure that when you are speaking with your physician or pain specialist, you know all of your options so you can make the right decision for yourself.