Doctor with a scalpel

Is Surgery the Answer?

In Therapist's Thoughts by Advance TherapyLeave a Comment

By Phylicia Lipes COTA/L


New studies show that physical/occupational Therapy is just as good as, if not better than, surgery in many cases. There are many benefits to therapy vs surgery that make it a better treatment option. 

With that said, there are situations where surgery is a must; but many situations where therapy can decrease pain, and strengthen muscles to prolong the need of surgery. 

If we were to go to Walmart right now and line up everyone in the store and MRI everyone’s shoulders, the majority would have something wrong appearing on the MRI. Does that mean everyone imaged at Walmart needs surgery? Does that mean that is the answer?

No, Many people live perfect lives without knowing they have an injury, and many live active lifestyles with an injury and are successful. Therapy helps with this by:


  1. It maximizes your ability to move pain-free. Physical/ occupational therapists are considered movement experts, knowing how the body should move and spotting when something is wrong. They’ll treat movement problems to decrease pain and get you back to normal.
  2. It strengthens the right muscles. Many times, injury and pain stem from muscle instability and weakness. Physical/Occupational therapists can spot those weaknesses and give you strengthening exercises that prevent pain, injury, and ultimately surgery.
  3. Because physical/ occupational therapy does such a good job with pain management, many patients find it unnecessary to take opioids or have surgery. In today’s time and opioid epidemic avoiding opioids and surgery are two of the biggest benefits for therapy for long term pain management.

Therapy is a tool that can help prolong the need for surgery, but if surgery ends up being the outcome studies show that prior therapy will help with recovery as you will be stronger.



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