Ask a PT: Why is my Doctor Sending me to PT when I most likely need surgery?

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painThis is an excellent question! For many typical diagnoses such as knee pain, back pain with radiculopathy or sciatica, neck pain with radiculopathy (pain radiating down the arm), rotator cuff tears and shoulder pain, and many others, our latest research into the treatment for these ailments demonstrates that a large number of patients who undergo conservative care such as physical therapy do just as well for pain and function compared to other patients who have surgery. Because of this sometimes surprising information, many insurance companies are even requiring patients try physical therapy first because many shoulder and knee patients, and the overwhelming majority of back pain and neck pain patients with radiculopathy do not end up needing surgery at all, no matter how severe their symptoms were to begin with. This is good news, as it spares patients from invasive procedures they may not need, and improves the speed of recovery and overall outcomes, and reduces time away from work and recreational activities for patients like you!