Saturday, April 17, 2010

another visit to the doctor

I visited the doctor on Tuesday; she had wanted to see how things were going after I'd been doing physical therapy for a while.

I explained that I'd initially had quite a lot of pain with the PT, but that the condition seemed to be slowly improving now. She repeated all the stuff she had told me earlier - it can take two years, etc. But she also said that she didn't think I needed any more physical therapy sessions per se, and that doing the exercises at home should be enough to help. She said that since I'm an active person, she expects that I will challenge the shoulder enough with my usual activities, which will help to reduce the stiffness.

She didn't seem thrilled that the physical therapist had been causing so much pain. She said the condition is associated with inflammation, and forcing the shoulder into painful positions is likely to produce more inflammation. However, she admitted that there's so little known about the condition that you can't really make any absolute statements.

Well, I think I pretty much agree with her. I can't actually tell whether the PT is helping, hurting, or indifferent at this point. I don't know what state I'd be in now without the PT. I'm inclined to think it helped me over the worst of the problem, but it's so hard to tell. But at this point, I have a feeling I'm just as well off doing exercises at home.

I had my 12th PT session on Monday, the day before visiting the doctor. I'd decided to cut back to once a week on the sessions, to see if things continue to improve without so many visits. PT consumes such large chunks of time, and seems to make things so much worse for a couple of days. I want to see what happens if I continue on my own. The visit to the doctor influenced me though, so that I now think I'll stop PT and see how things go. If the improvement slows, I can always go back for more sessions, so far as I know.

In fact there's a perverse incentive for me to continue PT even though it's not clear to me that I need it. There's only a $10 co-pay. I might think "let me just keep going to as many sessions as I can get insurance to pay for. Why not? It's not that expensive and I get more treatment!" The insurance company should give me a reward for saving them money, no? Well, no, I guess that would be asking too much from an insurance company.

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