Can Physical Therapy Make My Pain Worse?

By Ben Loomis – DSC_9441.jpg, CC BY 2.0,


Many of life’s great things take commitment, but that doesn’t mean it has to be a frustrating experience or a miserable one. Physical therapy has a lot of myths, and a big one is that physical therapy is supposed to hurt. By comparison, with the aid of our excellent physical therapists, rehabilitation can be an enjoyable experience.

PRN San Diego would like to help debunk some of these misconceptions and help you feel better about your choices for rehabilitation.


The expression “no pain, no gain” may be familiar to you, and though it is catchy, it can contribute to a harmful mindset. It also causes people to hesitate or stop physical health changes because they are afraid of the discomfort they may feel. Interestingly, while it means that physical therapy can lead to a traumatic experience, the reverse is true indeed. You are much more likely to worsen injuries and prolong the discomfort and pain you are already feeling by avoiding care at a physical therapy facility.

Seeing a physical therapist will show you that there are different kinds of solutions for rehabilitation and they aren’t as horrible as you would think; they’re not here to torment you. You’ll see how effective and efficient a treatment plan can be with a variety of programs and an individualized approach.


After physical therapy, if you are tired, it is a sign that your muscles and body are exhausted, but in a good way. It’s close to how preparation works for strength. To become stronger, a muscle must be loaded; there must be some kind of resistance, otherwise the muscle fibers would never have the opportunity to expand. Sure, at times, this can be uncomfortable and irritating, but it’s a vital part of development and recovery. You are more likely to suffer greater injury and discomfort that increases rather than decreases when you opt not to see a physical therapist and instead come up with your own DIY recovery plan.

Know that it takes time to heal. Following a car crash, there is no miracle pill to cure your whiplashed neck and back. After the first visit or week, if you do not see a difference, don’t give up, just be patient.


Another reason people believe physical therapy is so hard is that they don’t know what physical therapists are doing. Physical therapists are also perceived as less competent because they do not have the status of a medical doctor. This is a mistake, of course. In order to practice, licensed therapists go through years of schooling and preparation. In order to handle citizens, every state has very strict and demanding rules and standards that must be met.

What people don’t know is that healing people is not the role of a physical therapist. They are a resource to have the right resources for your recovery, but the individual and how well they want to use those tools are responsible for change and success.

Are You Looking for Relief From Neck Pain? 

Pace Physical Therapy in San Jose, California specializes in non-surgical neck pain relief and recovery therapies.  We pride ourselves on offering the best possible physical therapy available and going above and beyond for our patients. Our highly experienced physical therapist will work with you to improve your function and relieve your pain. We start by assessing the body as a whole. Oftentimes the cause of pain or an injury extends far beyond just the body part or muscle hurting. Without taking a comprehensive look at your entire self, we would be doing you a disservice in fully helping you heal and preventing future limitations. We then move on to fixing your areas of limitation.  Not all diagnoses are created equal. One person with neck pain may have completely different limitations than the next person. Your recovery program needs to be specific to what YOUR body needs and not just the typical exercise program that you can find online. Just because your pain decreases or you can walk longer doesn’t mean that it is enough to get you functioning at the level you want to be. While this often signifies the end of care at your typical PT clinic we don’t stop providing guidance until we help you successfully meet every goal you set for yourself with us on day one. Contact us today to schedule your appointment!