"All those powers. And I couldn't even save him." ~Clark Kent
You may not believe it, but physical therapy does not solve all problems and dysfunctions related to the human body. I know. Shocking.
Sometimes the damage to the body is just too great, and normal range of motion and strength cannot be gained with the skilled services of physical therapy. Sometimes, we need help.
Luckily, your physical therapist is just one piece of the healthcare puzzle. If you are attending physical therapy and not making progress, ask your therapist if there is another alternative that may be more beneficial. Your PT should be able to suggest another mode of treatment that may help your condition.
I recently had a patient who had shoulder pain for about a year. This pain came on for no apparent reason, and it had been slowly getting worse and worse. She presented with good range of motion, but her rotator cuff strength was poor and her shoulder special tests indicated that she may have a pathology in her rotator cuff.
We worked together for a few weeks, but nothing progressed. No strength was gained and no symptom was reduced. We both shrugged our shoulders, and she knew she needed to see an orthopedist.
My patient had an MRI done which showed a full thickness tear of her rotator cuff. She elected to have it repaired, and she has once again returned to therapy to rehab her shoulder after the surgery. She was thankful that we didn't waste time plugging away at her shoulder for months on end hoping to get some benefit. She was grateful that we didn't base her progress on the number of visits that her insurance would allow. Her clinical course told me she wasn't getting better, so she needed something else.
If you feel like you are spinning your wheels in physical therapy and not making progress, have an open and honest conversation with your physical therapist. You might need something more.