Posted by Sara Zuboff on 16th Mar 2017
If someone has an injury, the rehabilitation process is designed to treat the existing injury with the necessary education to avoid or prevent a recurrence. A lot of times this can be successful, but with some cases like those with carpal tunnel, a patient may need to have more than one round of physical therapy to reduce symptoms and return to pain-free function.
So, what of these second and sometimes third round patients? Sometimes, it means that surgery is recommended, like for those cases from our carpal tunnel example, but sometimes it means that changes to their physical therapy regimen with subsequent recurrences can all work towards the end goal of being able to participate in daily activities pain-free.
For example, someone who has chronic low-back pain may require more than one round of physical therapy treatment. As a matter of fact, 25% of patients of suffer from low back pain once will have it again(Source). Surgery is often recommended for these patients, however, low back surgeries like spinal fusion surgeries are only successful in reducing low back pain in 60% of patients. This leaves a significant amount of patients that undergoes back surgery and still experiences a recurrence of pain.
Recurrences of injuries aren’t the desired results after someone has graduated from their rehabilitation program, however healing from injuries can be complex. When a patient returns to rehab it’s important to approach each case with fresh eyes and ideas. The end goal of returning patients to pain-free function in their daily activities is the same, it may just take some patience and innovation to make that happen.
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