Clinical Questions – Frequency of Therapy

How often do I have to come to physical therapy to get better?

Depending on what diagnosis brings you to physical therapy, the physical therapist will determine the appropriate frequency per week.  Typically, post-operative patient require 3 times a week initially and gradually progress to 1-2 times a week.  As you continue to improve, the therapist will decrease the frequency of your treatment to progress you to independent exercise.

Clinical Question – Stress

When I have a stressful day, why do I have more neck and back pain?

When stressed, people tend to contract their muscles.  For example, people tend to elevate their shoulders toward their ears when stressed, thus causing increased tightness at the muscle on top of the shoulder (Upper Trapezius).  This leads to increased muscle tightness, which in turn can cause more pain.

Regarding physical therapy of your neck and back.  If you continue to have increased stress in your life while receiving physical therapy, this will lengthen the amount of time it takes to have a successful treatment outcome.  During therapy, the therapist will provide you with techniques to prevent further tightening of your neck and back musculature.

Clinical Question – Length of Treatment

How often and how long do I need physical therapy?

Depending on your condition, the therapist will give you an approximate timeline.  On average, physical therapy is usually 2 days a week for approximately 4-6 weeks.  Patients that have an extensive past medical history might take longer to heal; therefore, requiring a longer duration of physical therapy.  Examples that affect the duration include: diabetes, age, smoking, history of slow healing wounds, malnutrition, previous injury to the area being treated, and previous surgery to the area or limb being treated.